Last night I saw Lotfy Nathan’s documentary 12 O’Clock Boys at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I’m so glad I went, not only did I get to learn more about this crew I’ve seen around Baltimore every summer for the past ten years but I was also able to witness another view into this fascinating city I dwell in. The production and editing are powerful as well, layer that with the beautiful ethereal chopped up boys choir soundtrack consistently looped with the slowed down images of the wheelie/stunt street scenes and your emotionally and visually yanked in.
While there is a wealth of action and a dash of city politics (brown kids vs. police) the story is about Pug, a 12-year-old Baltimore city kid who yearns to be a 12 O’Clock Boy, a dirt bike group known around Baltimore for tearing through the city streets mad deep popping wheelies and performing stunts to the delight and chagrin of passersby. Nathan follows Pug and his family over a period of three years, the audience is invited to witness his growth and follow along as he tries to achieve his goal of catching up to the crew and being able to consistently pop a wheelie to 12 o’clock (yep, straight vertical like the hands on a clock at 12).
Now I can’t pretend like I’ve been down with the riders all along; in fact I used to be aggravated if I was driving and then got surrounded by a group of dirt bikers. I’d be like ‘who the haile are these guys zig-zagging through traffic, cutting me off and coming up the street the wrong way?“ I was mostly irritated because the roar from the pipes of a pack of 30 or so dirt bikes is so loud it will erase your thoughts, plus I constantly worried about hitting one of them. I’ve softened up quite a bit over the years and thanks to a lecture from my guy about city kids not having a place to go to run these bikes, etc, I understand better where the riders are coming from.
Do yourself a favor and buy or go see this movie.
Link to FB page: https://www.facebook.com/12oclockboysmovie
AMC Owings Mills 17
Los Angeles (today only, 2/1/14):
The Crest Theater-Westwood
Laemmle Playhouse 7-Pasadena