Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
Michel Gondry, US, 2005, 103'
On 18 September 2004, a few thousand people gathered in Brooklyn's streets for a massive district party celebration, organised by the popular American comedian Dave Chapelle who had gathered an impressive line-up of artists from the world of hip hop and R & B, including Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, Cody ChesnuTT, Big Daddy Kane and - back together for their first performance in seven years - the Fugees. Chapelle decided to have this unique event and the days leading up to it recorded by nobody other than Michel Gondry, the French director of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and countless ground-breaking music videos.
Chappelle wanted to hold the free concerts somewhere in a hall or Central Park in New York, but on Gondry's suggestion, Chapelle brought the music back home in a way that would represent the soul and roots of the music. It became a so-called ‘block party’ in Bed Stu, Brooklyn, the place where Spike Lee situated his "Do the Right Thing". The upshot is a mix of social commentary and outstanding music, is partly inspired by the 1971 documentary Wattstax with stand-up comedian Richard Pryor. Here, Dave Chapelle steals the show as a wisecracking master or ceremony who injects the documentary with his characteristic dirty but well-liked charm.
© Partizan / Focus Features