Charlie Ahearn in person for an introduction
Celebrated as a foundational depiction of early hip hop culture—and one of the first to engage cinematically with the lives and perspectives of the young people whose creativity fueled its development—Wild Style was conceived as a collaboration between young No Wave filmmaker Charlie Ahearn and the renowned street artist Fab 5 Freddy. The loose narrative follows Raymond (played by fellow practitioner Lee Quiñones), a precocious teenage graffiti writer in the Bronx known by the pseudonym “Zoro,” and his friend Phade (Fab 5 Freddy), a club promoter, as they navigate a scene fraught with artistic rivalries and a creative community that’s ambivalent about the interest it’s attracting from the upper-crust art world.
Filling out the cast with the Rock Steady Crew, Grandmaster Flash, and other pioneering talents of early hip hop culture playing versions of themselves, Ahearn’s film offers an extraordinary semi-documentary portrait of a vibrant cultural movement in its first flowering. A New Directors/New Films 1983 selection.