Saturday, April 22, 2006


2005, US, directed by Doug Pray

While it's nothing special as a contribution to the documentary format - given the subject matter, it's aesthetically disappointing - Infamy does feature some highly entertaining, eloquent graffiti artists and select examples of their work (on walls, railway cars and more or less every urban surface imaginable). It's hard to know how representative these particular artists are of the wider tagging/graffiti milieu - some of them are clearly at the top of the game artistically (like Saber, based in California), while all are effective commentators on their work and motivations - but there's no doubting their (sometimes misguided) devotion to their work. While artists like Saber or Toomer focus on murals - some of them tours de force of skill and impact - others, particularly Earsnot and Claw, seem to have an obsession with self-publicity, writing their names on everything they see like so much visual litter (Claw, too, gives off the impression of a middle-class girl nursing an obsession with the streets). Whatever you think of them, though, director Doug Pray has found some fascinating raconteurs, often witty and occasionally, unexpectedly wise.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States