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Straight Outta Compton 

Wednesday, Feb 11 2009
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Why is there so much violence in South L.A.? What are the historical roots of the Bloods and Crips? Stacy Peralta’s documentary, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, employs hip-hop beats and music video aesthetics (quick edits, slick cinematography, artful use of still photography) to answer those twined questions. With narration by Forest Whitaker, Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants) turns his cameras on former and current gang members who outline the origins of gangs (one starting point: the once-racist policies of the Boy Scouts, which forced young black males to form makeshift youth groups of their own), the evolution of the gangs, their role in the civil rights movement of the ’60s and the American government’s hand in turning Bloods and Crips from community activists into community scourge. It’s a lot to take in, and Peralta does an admirable job cramming tons of history and insight into his reportage on how the “hood” came to be. Crips and Bloods is fueled by his palpable frustration and unapologetic lefty sympathizing, which is the film’s strength.
Feb. 27-March 4, 9:20 p.m.; Feb. 28-March 1, 4:50 p.m.; March 6-12, 7 & 8:50 p.m.; March 7-8, 3 & 5 p.m., 2009

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Ernest Hardy

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