Movie Spotlight | Spotlight | Indy Week
Pin It
Dark Planet: Visions of America

Movie Spotlight 

Dark Planet: Visions of America

Not nearly as ominous as its title, this debut feature from Durham filmmaker Jason Mitchell is an ambitious and informative survey of punk America. For a group of anti-authoritarians, punks are surprisingly willing to embrace caste definitions, and Mitchell's film breaks them down into four main groups: Skinheads, Straightedge, Black Metal and Zealots. Although music is associated with these groups, Dark Planet is primarily interested in why kids choose the tribes (which sometimes function as substitute families) they do, and how they identify the values of their own particular punk culture. Inevitably, Dark Planet is less a film about punk music than punk as a lifestyle option.

Mitchell's survey across the nation's punk underground reveals new and sometimes Talmudic wrinkles: Partisans of straightedge (punks who don't drink, smoke or have casual sex) discuss whether "vegan straightedge" is a legitimate movement, and the Black Metalheads discuss their even more extreme brethren, the Suicide Metalheads.

Still, the film's most fascinating revelation is the emergence of Christian punks who call themselves the Zealots, perhaps after the original Jewish rabble-rousers who died en masse at the Masada 2000 years ago. These kids might be considered red state punks--they've found sustenance in religion and the gospels, and the young women interviewed (including Jason Mitchell's wife Patricia) talk about their hopes for marriage and disavow any feminist leanings.

For Mitchell, the subject is a personal one. In his film, he includes his own spiritual evolution from teenage dissolution. In 1997, a light went on when he heard a straightedge anthem, and he became a cleaner-living punk and, eventually, a filmmaker.

Dark Planet: Visions of America will be screened at Durham's Carolina Theatre on Nov. 30 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

  • Dark Planet: Visions of America

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Spotlight

  • Paul Newman, 1925-2008

    A hero we could believe in
    • Oct 3, 2008
  • Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham

    Pollack's death Monday, May 26, at age 73 represents the passing of a true film raconteur and accomplished director.
    • May 27, 2008
  • Om Shanti Om

    Om Shanti Om delivers the glitter and glamour, the comedy and thrills, religion and the supernatural, mother love, high fashion and eye-popping  production numbers in proper masala fashion.
    • Nov 14, 2007
  • More »

More by David Fellerath

Latest videos from the INDY

Twitter Activity

Comments

I find this rather interesting ..My name is Gary E.Queen .I am a grand son of Thomas H. Queen,Descendant ,Of …

by Gary E. Queen on The Queen Family (Spotlight)

"He was the picture of a man comfortable in his own skin and celebrity." I never met Pollack, but I …

by rwcass on Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham (Spotlight)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2015 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation