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This DVD zine documentary-cum-manifesto totally sucks and is actually pretty cool at the same time. It has qualities of Ned Flanders and Bart Simpson and is both cult recruitment propaganda and an open invitation to do your own thing. The primary problem with this video is the creepy (fictional?) quasi-beatnik family who appear throughout the film dressed as if they were part of an obscure religious sect. These people are, apparently, the embodiment of a non-mainstream DIY-culture family. They move into a generic suburban home and transforms it into a temple of creativity. A child’s voice-over rings of a collective who identify themselves as the “Winking Circle” and pledge to create a culture distinct from a market-driven one while carrying out the will of God. It is this manifesto that sticks in the reviewers’ craw. The DVD propagates a certain prepackaged notion of DIY culture even though the narrators claim otherwise. A case in point is when the narrators rail against the likes of Wal-Mart, Hollywood and the Boob Tube with a distinct absence of rage. And what is youth in the absence of rage? A subdued youth, harnessed by parents. Hey parents, leave them kids alone!

Still, there are cool parts. This DVD has footage of BMX and skateboard tricks and wipeouts that trump anything seen in Jackass: The Movie. These kids do stunts that would make even the most relaxed mother have a cow sideways. For these alone, it’s worth keeping the DVD. When the Winking Circle leaves the realm of manifesto and becomes documentary, it moves closer to the truth it seeks to champion. In particular, a segment documents the Uxbridge, Ont. youths who lobby the municipal government for a skate park. After years of lobbying the park was built only to be torn down shortly thereafter when the municipal government caved capitulated to a complaint from a resident. The raw footage of Uxbridge youth exhibiting their uncensored anguish is a poignant moment, and it’s heartening when they attempt to rebuild elsewhere. (I. Khider)

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