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  FILM * REVIEWS
 
SLAMNATION
One of the participants in a slam (spoken-word) competition in Paul Devlin’s documentary SlamNation calls the forum “the democratization of art.” What that means here is a lot of egos, hyperbole, petty and bitter rivalries, and a few mediocre poems. But all of that is precisely what makes the film so much fun. It maps out the 1996 National Poetry Slam, beginning in New York and following teams from across the U.S. and Canada as they make their way to the finals in Portland, Oregon. Devlin wisely lets the poets and their work speak for themselves — that is the whole point — and the drama is always full-flame. So’s the comedy. As the film winds to an end, one of the most memorable moments is an eloquent, heartfelt lament that the nature of competition has turned the art space less into a democracy than a mirror of the very rat race it should oppose or, at the very least, critique.(Ernest Hardy)
 

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film

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