Welcome to Curtis Snow's Atlanta, from the film "Snow On Tha Bluff"
Snow On Tha Bluff
Slamdance Film Festival
Dir: Damon Russell
Atlanta gangster Curtis Snow robs some rich city folk of their camera and makes a movie about himself, his crew, and their gangster lifestyle. If you’re as square a saltine as I am, you’re going to miss fully 70% of this film’s dialog – Snow and his crew speak loudly, quickly, and all on top of one another in a very difficult to decipher Atlanta ghetto slang. This is not, however, a flaw. You’ll never be too lost, as the film does a commendable job of bringing you the plot without the dialog’s help. Every aspect of this production is invested in an authentic portrayal of “the much mythologized world of the urban gangsta” (Paul Sbrizzi, Slamdance Programmer). As such, this movie does not hold your hand. It doesn’t contain a moral, there’s no denouement, no closure of any kind. What this movie does do is disclose to you a world that is utterly believable. "Snow On The Bluff" at times seems so real that many were asking questions to separate fact from fiction during the post screening Q&A. But I watched Snow and director Russell polish off a flask of whiskey, a few pabsts and a forty over the course of the screening, so they were a bit too loose to answer many questions with a straight face. What I gathered was this: people used were all non-actors from The Bluff (Snow’s hood), and it was shot on location. Snow really (“used to”) rob people and sell drugs, and while the events themselves are cleverly staged and fictionalized, they are generally based on Snow’s life and experiences. I’ve never been so convinced of and involved in a non-documentary’s world. To call this a mockumentary wouldn’t be fair, as the film always seems to be trying to show you something that is legitimately real. That being said, as a work of fiction it’s maybe a bit less enjoyable than when viewed as an original piece of cultural anthropology. Maybe Curtis Snow is a Julliard grad – maybe we’ve been duped – I’m not sure. And honestly I’m not sure I want to know.