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Just for Kicks

Aptly slick and stylish as a TV commercial, docu "Just for Kicks" takes a bemused gander at the obsession with sneakers that turned them from mere sportswear into a magnet for collectors, and an industry worth $26 billion annually.

With:
With: Tommy Rebel, Grandmaster Caz, Fab 5 Freddy, Bill Adler, Run-DMC, Russell Simmons, Mathieu Kassovitz, Bonz Malone, Missy Elliott, Raekwon, Damon Dash.

Aptly slick and stylish as a TV commercial, docu “Just for Kicks” takes a bemused gander at the obsession with sneakers that turned them from mere sportswear into a magnet for collectors, and an industry worth $26 billion annually. Fashion phenom started and remains rooted in the hip-hop community, whose beats and personalities dominate here. Celebrity interviews, great graphics and a breakneck pace make this a novelty item perfect for broadcast — and collectors, of course.

Nature of their sales flip-flopped from the traditional breakdown (it’s now 80% for lifestyle, 20% for athletic use), sneakers-as-fashion-statement first blew up in hip-hop’s earliest days. Breakdancing made hardy footwear essential, yet simultaneous was the less-practical trend of wearing them sans laces — mimicking prison convicts, who don’t have a choice in the matter. Endorsements by star athletes (most famously Michael Jordan) and rappers (Run-DMC’s hit “My Adidas” actually preceded their contract with the manufacturer) soon led to increasingly flamboyant runs of limited-edition, customized shoes. Some of those interviewed show their massive personal collections; designers, marketers, and pop culture analysts weigh in as well. Dynamic editing and a couple musicvid-like sequences highlight the sharp package.

Just for Kicks

France - U.S.

Production: A CAID Prods. and Program33 production in association with Canal Plus. Produced by Alex Stapleton. Executive producers, Thierry Daher, Fabrice Coat, Come Chantrel. Co-producer, Patrick Cariou. Directed by Thibaut de Longeville, Lisa Leone.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Leone; editor, Scott Stevenson; music, Roy Ayers, Outlines, Jassanova's Roskow & DJ Medi. Reviewed at San Francisco Black Film Festival, June 9, 2005. Running time: 67 MIN.

With: With: Tommy Rebel, Grandmaster Caz, Fab 5 Freddy, Bill Adler, Run-DMC, Russell Simmons, Mathieu Kassovitz, Bonz Malone, Missy Elliott, Raekwon, Damon Dash.

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