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Monday, May 2, 2016

Tribeca Talks: Baz Luhrmann Makes a Case for the Return of Great Soundtracks


I'm not going to pretend to be much of a Baz Luhrmann film (I think his films are visually stunning yet awfully hollow), but when he announced that he was going to do THE GET DOWN, a drama series set at the birth of hip-hop for Netflix, I admit I was intrigued. Not optimistic, but more intrigued in the way in which I muttered to myself "this man is trying to ruin hip-hop now."

I am now more fascinated than ever at the idea of what he can bring to the project after watching this great Tribeca Talks program (which you can watch in its entirety above), in which he talks with fellow filmmaker Nelson George about music as text, and as an integral plot device. It's interesting when you think about the death of soundtracks in a way as they seem to have been all been replaced by lyrics-less musical scores. Which isn't a bad thing, but certainly is a sharp pivot. I do appreciate how passionate Luhrmann is about incorporating music into the actual narrative (even when it's not a straightforward musical). 

Here's a little more info on THE GET DOWN:

Creator Baz Luhrmann's first series for television, The Get Down focuses on 1970s New York - broken down and beaten up, violent, cash-strapped -- dying. Consigned to rubble, a rag-tag crew of South Bronx teenagers are nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them - except each other, armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans. From Bronx tenements, to the SoHo art scene; from CBGB to Studio 54 and even the glass towers of the just-built World Trade Center, The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop - as told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city and the world...forever.

Giancarlo Esposito, Shameik Moore (Dope), Jaden Smith, and Jimmy Smits are among the cast. 

THE GET DOWN debuts on Netflix August 12. 

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