From Mambo to Hip Hop is a great example of superb documentary storytelling, at its best. The director, Henry Chalfant, takes great look at the changing face of the diverse South Bronx, and how it is incomparable to any other neighborhood - it is truly one of a kind. We see the up-and-coming years of the mambo, beautifully presented through interviews, grainy footage of fiery dancers, and what the dance and music truly mean to those for whom it bares special significance. We see the early break dancers, the Zulu Nation participants who first got a taste of hip hop, break dancing and record scratching in the 1970s. Deejay Charlie Chase (Wild Style) provides us with some of the strongest insight into how he broke into the record spinning role, in an African American dominated subculture, as someone of Puerto Rican descent. He decided to choose a culturally neutral name, in an effort not to alienate his audience.
I love the flavor, here, the footage, the music and how we are educated, here. I plan to visit that community, some day - good film to cut your teeth on. Brilliant, even.