This article isn’t for those who have only made a surface effort to get into cult documentary film and “liked” Louis Theroux on Facebook. A crash course in cult requires repeat viewings of Paris is Burning (1990) and Grey Gardens (1975). Not until you can spell 'OPULENCE' in the same strident tone as a drag ball announcer and 'STAUNCH' in the Long Island drawl of Little Edie Bouvier. Have you earned your stripes and deserve to move on to the next round? This is that next round. This documentary is about the outliers, but that’s precisely what makes it so undeniably cool. Armed with a base knowledge, graduates of the entry level programme can go on to enjoy a successful career in cult film – after consuming our Top Cult Documentaries Series.
FLYIN’ CUT SLEEVES (1993)
Streets that slice through New York and its outlying boroughs used to act as invisible border lines for the gangs that operated within them. Hostile towards their neighbours, turf wars were common. Patches and symbols that adorned clothing, your “colours”, were what signalled to others where your loyalty lay. This documentary dishes out rare footage of African-American and Puerto Rican South Bronx gangs from the 70s, updated in the 90s when the filmmakers decided to revisit the gang members. It’s the perfect accompaniment for anyone casually obsessed with The Warriors, Walter Hill’s 1979 flick about the famous Hoe Avenue peace meeting. There have been other documentaries to peel back the lid on NY gang warfare, such as 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s (1979) and last year’s Rubble Kings (2015). For all its companions, this one is the true OG.
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