MIFF 2020: Dark City Beneath the Beat (2020)

Director: TT The Artist

Featuring: Uneek, Mighty Mark, Tsu Terry, TT The Artist

Baltimore is a city well known for its crime rate and featuring as the setting for the Wire but I have not heard the latter and did not know much about the city’s artistic scene before this film. Several of the participants of the documentary mention their city not being able to catch a break.

I admit I am not much into the style of music promoted in this film but it was good to see it for something different and it is well packaged.

This is not a straight documentary as people seem to be putting on a performance while they tell their story even people speaking directly to the camera. I would describe it as a music documentary with some social commentary thrown in.

The story explored is the music and club scene of Baltimore and some of the featured artists and major events such as the Queen of Baltimore and King of Baltimore events that are a major thing for the city. The King of Baltimore could have been a documentary all on its own.

It is a very well shot documentary and even the bad parts of the city look good including the Cherry Hill section where they describe it as being one of the worst parts of the city.

If anything it makes the city look too good, but you would think they would want to make the city look attractive for people wanting to work with the artists there. Strangely there do not seem to be any visual artists or anyone involved in non-music or dance works involved but hopefully they do get a boost from this documentary.

They do mention Club Queen Records set up by the director to promote people of colour and women in traditional male-dominated music genres.

While you will get more into this documentary if you are into what they are selling, there is still a lot here to enjoy and see into a scene you would not hear from otherwise.


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