PLANET B-BOY is a 2007 documentary film that focuses on the 2005 Battle of the Year while also describing B-boy culture and history as a global phenomenon.
05/28/11 | Film

Planet B Boy

by Richard Chiem

Maybe a dozen red ambulances are passing outside near the grocery store, all heading in one direction down the hill. There are calming bright lights in a row in the freezer aisle. Much later he feels a dumb calming bliss from slipping the same type of milk into the same place in the refrigerator door taking longer than he should take in the ongoing recycled air.  He does not turn the light on in the hallway. He does not turn on any lights when he comes back home from market. He has a soft moment feeling alive staring at produce and boiled eggs. If he lays down here on the kitchen floor with the refrigerator door open, if he tries to allow his mind to listen only to sounds of the cooling ventilation, isolating sounds to meditate and even out, has he lost his mind.

He feels the efficiency of laying down without any thought or feeling obliged. His face is against the cold tile.

B Boy Darkness says, I am sinking.

I am sinking because I am happy.

He extends his hands and meditates. His body is a star. He weighs less than a pound on the plain tile. The room turns blue when the sun sets and a strange unknown sound like a growl perhaps from the pipes vibrates the ground. For a moment he falls asleep.

There is an unknown disaster happening down hill. Small great fires. All the cars drive in unison with red ambulances together on the visible highways away from the cities. She sees people collapsing in clumps down the hill on the streets. B Boy Darkness feels a scream as though it were coming from his own throat coming from someone down the hill. A few people are screaming faintly at arguably the same thing. They are all feeling arguably the same way, in a minute widespread panic. He stands next to the girl on the train, together with her looking at nothing but city lights. They are holding hands. Each finger has an independent tremble and coercion. He says, I am going to see what’s happening. He says, I can dance so symmetrically for so long it can feel like nihilism. I can make my body a catastrophe.

He sees her every day when he rides the trains to practice. She tells him she admires him in a low dress. In his head, there are only a few things worth living for. He can no longer describe why the weight of his gym bag on his shoulder makes him feel good and intimate and tapped into the world. He explains to her, My hands are veiny from routine. He says, There is something peaceful about routine and letting go over what comes back to you. When the train car slowly brakes, and the automated female voice bleeds over the intercom from passenger car to passenger car, he feels unbridled glee when she comes a little closer to him. She moves away from the horror she sees from down the hill in the window, where the people are obviously stressed or screaming or afraid of death and she says, I was scared but now I’m better. I was scared but now I’m better.

The mess she leaves is all in his head. She is amassing, still waiting on the train car in her own afterglow where he just left her, right next to the automatic sliding glass doors. She is holding the plastic railing with her might. Her body is getting smaller and smaller in the distance while he paces his breath and heads down the hill. B Boy Darkness is running down the hill in the middle of the street since no traffic is coming even through the tunnels. He runs until he gets there.

Sometimes the crowds share one mesmerized face during a B Boy show. He has danced every day for the past few years with a signature presence. All the muscles in his arms glow in open tension. It’s as if his body grows heavier after a performance when he is being watched but lighter when he is touched.
It will dawn on him to stop talking about love over and over again and rather just sit across the table from her in silence or stand closely next to her for a minute. He feels both. His face is still when he imagines the future with the girl from the train car, staring out her window down the hill.

Right away he starts breakdancing in his running shoes. There are some people lying on the pavement unconscious in the sunlight. A fire hydrant is one giant geyser of water. He finds his center of gravity and starts to spin around and around again on his palms. While more red ambulances continue to arrive, and heat shimmers in the air in ribbons with black smoke and nearly blinds visibility, the scene inside the noise is calm and simple: Everyone is watching B Boy Darkness breakdance in the street, clumped in dozens down the hill, unable to describe how they feel, but they are all together. They are dozens and hundreds feeling emotional for once. Every window in the buildings all around them has a face.

“I think the biggest misconception about breakdancers or B Boys with the people out here in the world is that, they’re not dancing, that everything they’re doing is just happening at the moment. And they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it. They just going crazy.

Breaking is a legitimate dance. As legitimate as any other dance that has existed.”

— Ken Swift on a megaphone, standing next to B Boy Darkness while he dances down the hill.