December 30, 2006


What's most interesting about Idlewild (OutKast's gorgeous movie set in a semi-mythical Prohibition-era Georgia) is not what it owes to the past, but to the present. The score, of course - there's no way those songs would have existed 'then' - but also the dance scenes, floating somewhere between musicals and music videos, and the characters.

It's simple, really. Before there were gangstas, there were gangsters; before there was crack, there was hootch; before there was the club, there was the club. More complicated things, too: the role of women as simultaneous seduction and salvation, the dream of getting out, the fear and reality of violence, having to choose between being cool and having a future. Idlewild is about now, dressed up as then. Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street is about the same subjects, but it's not half as pretty.

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