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Slam (Widescreen) [Import]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn, Bonz Malone, Lawrence Wilson, Beau Sia
  • Directors: Marc Levin
  • Writers: Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn, Bonz Malone, Marc Levin, Richard Stratton
  • Producers: Daphne Pinkerson, David Peipers
  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • Release Date: March 9 1999
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000I1LN

Product Description

Amazon.ca

A darling of the 1998 festival circuit, Marc Levin's Slam won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance as well as the Camera d'Or (best first film) at Cannes. Despite its shortcomings, the film merits these awards--Slam offers a strong cast and compelling subject matter, a perfect setting with a killer soundtrack, and over-the-top rap poetry.

The film opens with an exterior shot of the protagonist, Raymond Joshua (played by real-life poet Saul Williams), walking away from the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The image of a young black man turning his back on this symbol of government scant minutes before he's popped on a chump-change drug charge is poignant and disturbing--not easily forgotten by anyone aware of the immense contradictions inherent in the demographics of the nation's capital.

Slam depicts Raymond's fall from relative innocence, and his apparent redemption. As a small-time dope dealer and street poet, his arrest thrusts him into an unfamiliar world--the violence of life in the slammer is palpable and altogether frightening. Incarceration, however, awakens the slumbering power of Raymond's poetry; eventually, its strength keeps him alive. In a prison yard scene when he's about to get whomped, Raymond gives free rein to his words, choosing poetry in motion over violence. Hearing Raymond's impassioned words, the hardened cons let him walk. One of them even covers his bail, and Raymond hits the streets, eager to check out Lauren (Sonja Sohn), the creative-writing teacher he met behind bars.

Although the third act dilutes the credibility established by Levin's in-your-face vérité style, Slam is relentlessly passionate, unswerving in its conviction that there's an alternative to the violence that decimates North America's inner cities. Indeed, for all the film's preachiness, we cheer Raymond on, fueling his poetry, hoping, somehow, that it can transform those around him. Peace is the word. --Stephan Magcosta


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rika on Jan. 4 2003
Format: DVD
This movie was great. I saw it for the first time awhile ago and I was highly impressed. Never hearing of Saul Williams this movie introduced me to him and I got a taste of how he does things. The poetry and/or rap verses in the film are great. This movie also has a great storyline.If you havent seen the movie yet, see it.If you havent bought the movie yet, buy it.
peace n luv~Rika
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason on Dec 22 2003
Format: DVD
Short and simple...Mind Nourishing. Unlike any film I've ever seen. The poetic verses spat during key points within the film was inspiring. Saul Williams broke the last piece of the mold in his portrayal of a small time dealer/verbal phenom. This movie, for me set in motion the content of my own writings. If you love verbal art get this DVD. You will not be dissappointed.
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Format: VHS Tape
Slam is not a silent film. Slam does not come off quiet and demure, though it is not a grossly violent film, nor is it preachy. This film artfully reinstates the importance of sound power, the beauty of the poetic imagination, and even ties in a bit of old Egypt. Leaving the story line altogether, this movie's dialogue moved me like a modern day Shakespeare. Never before Saul Williams (save Shakespeare) had I viewed a world where words and a stage (or camera) were so intensely exhilarating, inspirational, and emotionally giving. Slam holds nothing back. This is NOT just a film about a prophet in the ghetto. This is not just a film about poets. This is not just a film, period. When the closing credits rolled, I could do nothing more than sit in silent awe, hand over heart, trying to collect and tame the mad mess of thoughts running amuck in my head space. I won't ruin the story line for those who have not seen this film, but I will say that it is without a doubt one of the most gripping films I have ever seen, not forgetting that I am a film nazi and only boost the absolute greats (Fellini, Bergman, Lee, Tarkovsky, Allen and Smith...to name a few). This is an ABSOLUTE must see for all types and ages! I promise you won't regret having ever seen it and guarantee that once you have, you will recommend it to your friends, co-workers, strangers in the market, and your old, un-cool parents. Seriously, see this film!
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Format: VHS Tape
Slam is not a silent film. Slam does not come off quiet and demure, though it is not a grossly violent film, nor is it preachy. This film artfully reinstates the importance of sound power, the beauty of the poetic imagination, and even ties in a bit of old Egypt. Leaving the story line altogether, this movie's dialogue moved me like a modern day Shakespeare. Never before Saul Williams (save Shakespeare) had I viewed a world where words and a stage (or camera) were so intensely exhilarating, inspirational, and emotionally giving. Slam holds nothing back. This is NOT just a film about a prophet in the ghetto. This is not just a film about poets. This is not just a film, period. When the closing credits rolled, I could do nothing more than sit in silent awe, hand over heart, trying to collect and tame the mad mess of thoughts running amuck in my head space. I won't ruin the story line for those who have not seen this film, but I will say that it is without a doubt one of the most gripping films I have ever seen, not forgetting that I am a film nazi and only boost the absolute greats (Fellini, Bergman, Lee, Tarkovsky, Allen and Smith...to name a few). This is an ABSOLUTE must see for all types and ages! I promise you won't regret having ever seen it and guarantee that once you have, you will recommend it to your friends, co-workers, strangers in the market, and your old, un-cool parents. Seriously, see this film!
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Format: VHS Tape
When I finally too the time to sit down and watch this movie, I didn't know what to expect. I have always been a huge fan of poetry, the older stuff including pope, frost, Cummings etc. As well as some newer beat generation stuff including kerouac and gindsberg (i recently learned that Saul williams performed on stage with Gindsberg). Despite my love for poetry, i began watching this movie with a weary eye. Needless to say this lasted only a few minutes and soon i was completely entranced in the story of Raymond Joshua.This story does two amazing things, it addresses the inner city problems so many directors shy away from or glamorize as well as openins the audience's eyes to the miracle of modern day poetry. I, like many white middle class americans, was blind to the cultural renaissance taking place in the so called 'ghettos' of america. I guess it is a logical progression. Historically, art thrived where there was oppression, helplessness, and greed. The apathetic view government has applied to modern day black Americans fuels the hope and poetic freedom of this movie. By forcing the realization of america's inner-oppression, this movie is assisting in a struggle that has gone under-exposed for many years. Although it is practically laughable to make such a blunt claim, but this movie could change the world
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Format: VHS Tape
Slam is the story of an amazing, young spoken word artist, who faces the cruel realities of Southeast D.C.. Ray, who is portrayed by Saul Williams gets busted fleeing the scene of a crime, and is found with an illegal amount of marijuana. While in prison awaiting his fate, Ray befriends a young women who is there to teach writing to inmates. Lauren helps Ray come to a realization about himself. Ray learns anger is what oppresses, and once you get past that anger your mind is free. This harsh truth is accepted by Ray, as he changes his mind set, and helps others to see this way. What makes this movie so phenomenal is the emotion the viewer experiences throughout the film. This is not another story about ghetto life. Ray is a character who is easy to like and identify with. His charasmatic demeanor and articulate speech, give him strong leadership qualities. His poetry speaks the truth, and send goose bumps up your spine. Ray realizes the world he wants to be in, which is not the crime and revenge ridden streets of Southeast D.C.. However he is unaccepting of the middle passage he must take to get there, being two to ten years in prison. As the viewer waits to find out Ray's fate in an upcoming hearing the story comes to an end. The dramatic ending of Ray running through the streets of D.C. leaves the viewer in suspense, as this could be the last open air he will breath for some time. This powerful story though fiction, is one that is faced by thousands of urban youths in our inner cities today. Saul Williams plays an excellent role in this moving feature.
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