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My Crasy Life
Directed by Jean-Pierre Gorin
1992

Part of Criterion’s Eclipse series Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin, My Crasy Life is a documentary about the S.O.S. “Sons of Samoa” gang based in Long Beach, CA. 

Prior to his documentaries on Southern California, Gorin was known for collabing with fellow New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard during his radical lefty phase as part of the “Dziga Vertov Group”. Together they put out the film Tout Va Bien starring Jane Fonda, as well as the short film Letter To Jane, where both he and Godard literally just show a photo of Jane Fonda in Vietnam and they talk about it for like an hour. Fortunately, this documentary is nowhere near as pretentious and is pretty much the total opposite.

The documentary itself is a mix of candid interviews, COPS style footage, a bizarre HAL-9000 talking cop car (?) and staged events where the gang cheeses in front of the camera and tries to look like their life is a never-ending Snoop video. There’s even a scene, arguably the best scene, where they’re like 20 deep in a recording studio and then after a few bars go into an a capella of “Teenager In Love" which instantly makes them the most adorable thugs second to this photo of Tupac holding a puppy.

I loved this movie because it does what great documentaries do and that’s shed a light on a particular topic or subject that would normally go unnoticed and captures it in the most vivid of detail. In this case, it takes the subject of 90’s South Central L.A. crips but shows it in the perspective of Samoans in Long Beach. This film also might be the most hood thing Criterion has put out and for that alone, it’s great. It makes me wish that somewhere out there exists a similar artsy documentary on the Freaknik concerts but sadly I don’t think there is.