Rize (film)

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Rize poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid LaChapelle
Produced by
  • Marc Hawker
  • David LaChapelle
CinematographyMorgan Susser
Edited byFernando Villena
Music by
Distributed byLions Gate Films
Release date
  • June 24, 2005 (2005-06-24)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4.6 million[2]

Rize is a 2005 American documentary film by David LaChapelle, and starring Lil' C, Tommy the Clown and Miss Prissy. It documents the culture and competition surrounding two dance forms known as Clowning and Krumping.[3]


Rize is a documentary following an interview schedule of two related dancing subcultures of Los Angeles called Clowning and Krumping.[3] The first series of interviews introduces, describes and develops the dance style known as Clowning.[3] A descendant of 1980s breakdancing, Clowning is a contemporary street art all its own, characterized by speedy, flowing limbs, feverish shakes, hipness, and confounding athletic tricks.[4] Tommy Johnson, better known by his alias, Tommy the Clown, is a former drug dealer and a man with a mission. For Tommy, Clowning is more than an aesthetic pastime: In an area besieged by drive-by shootings, drug deals and unemployment; Clowning is his way of offering an optimistic alternative for youngsters, a means of self-expression and a chance to channel positive energy.[4]

The second series of interviews and footage explains how the dance style known as Krumping evolved from Clowning and matured into its own identity.[3] Like Clowning, Krumping is characterized by free, expressive exaggerated, and highly energetic movement.[5] The youths who started Krumping, known as Lil C' and Miss Prissy, saw the dance as a way for them to escape gang life and "to release anger, aggression and frustration positively, in a non-violent way."

The third section of the film depicts a dance battle called The Battle Zone which takes place between Clowns and Krumpers at the Great Western Forum in 2004.[3][6] The film style and soundtrack draws creative ties between African dance rituals and the developing style of Krumping.[7]


The film Rize was written and directed by David LaChapelle. Working alongside LaChapelle were executive producers Ishbel Whitaker, Barry Peele, Ellen Jacobson-Clarke, Stavros Merjos, and Rebecca Skinner.[3] Rize focuses on the African-American communities of Clowns and Krumpers in South Central Los Angeles.[8] Most of these dancers are young, poor, and would be classified as "at risk." Director David LaChapelle follows these dancers from rehearsal to Battlezone, an annual dance competition, alternating between footage of the dancing and interviews with the dancers and their families.[8]

The film is set in the outskirts of South Central Los Angeles–areas like Inglewood and Compton that have become synonymous in the American popular imagination with deviances of all kinds, due to representations in news media, music, and film. However, LaChapelle does not begin the film in the present day. Focusing instead on the history of racial conflict in South Central, including footage of the Watts riots of 1965 and the 1992 Rodney King riots.[3][8]

LaChapelle situates his film deliberately within a racially specific violence.[8] The film is dedicated to a dancer named Quinesha (Lil Dimples) Dunford, who was killed with a 13-year old friend in a 2003 drive-by shooting, and not one of the dancers within the film is without a story like Quinesha's to tell.[6]


The documentary features original material by Flii Stylz ("Rize", "I Krump", "Beastly", and "Recognize"), Christina Aguilera ("Soar"), and an entry by UK hip-hop star Dizzee Rascal ("Fix Up, Look Sharp"), as well as a number of traditional gospel songs, including the Edwin Hawkins Singers' "Oh Happy Day".[9]


Rize received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 84% rating based on 91 reviews, with an average rating of 4.0/5.[10] The site's consensus reads, “ The dances in Rize are electric even if the documentary doesn’t go that deeply into the performers’ lives.[10] Metacritic reports a 74 out of 100 rating based on 29 critics.[11] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated “the most remarkable thing about Rize is that it is real.”[12] Sid Smith of the Chicago Tribune stated that Rize is, “a compelling, bittersweet hybrid of a movie, one celebrating an enormous and hitherto unsung underground talent, while suggesting that art goes only so far in solving the enormous challenges of the underprivileged life.”[6]

Robert Koehler of Variety gave the film an 80 out of 100 and stated that, “Rize is an eye-popping lensing and an appreciation of social complexities combined for an entirely satisfying experience.”[13]

The movie was released in the United States, France,[14] Australia,[15] Germany,[16] United Kingdom,[17] New Zealand,[18] Austria,[19] among others.


Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rize (2005) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  2. ^ "Rize (2005) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "David LaChapelle: American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, film director, and artist. - MyArtistsList". MyArtistsList. 2015-04-05. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  4. ^ a b "'Rize' shows the strengths, limits of art to bring hope". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  5. ^ "Getting krumped: the changing race of hip hop. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  6. ^ a b c Trebay, Guy (2005-06-19). "The Clowning, Wilding-Out Battle Dancers of South Central L.A." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  7. ^ Hardy, Ernest (2005-06-16). "Dancing on Live Grenades". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  8. ^ a b c d "Krump or Die: Krumping and Racist Ideologies in the Production and Reception of Rize | gnovis". www.gnovisjournal.org. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  9. ^ "Rize - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  10. ^ a b Rize, retrieved 2016-10-18
  11. ^ Rize, retrieved 2016-10-18
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Rize Movie Review & Film Summary (2005) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  13. ^ Koehler, Robert (2005-01-26). "Review: 'Rize'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  14. ^ "Rize (2005) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  15. ^ "Rize (2005) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  16. ^ "Rize (2005) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  17. ^ "Rize (2005) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  18. ^ "Rize (2005) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  19. ^ "Rize (2005) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  20. ^ "Aspen Shortsfest (2004)". IMDB. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  21. ^ "Sundance Film Festival (2004)". IMDB. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  22. ^ "Bangkok International Film Festival (2006)". IMDB. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  • The Spirit's Dance in Africa by ED Esther A. Dagan. Galerie Amrad African Arts Publications 1997.
  • Rodney King Rebellion by Brenda Wall. African American Images: Chicago, IL 1992.
  • Radical L.A. by Errol Wayne Stevens. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 2009.

External links[edit]