Another summer’s passing by; Watching Polar’s ‘We Blew It At Some Point’
By Mike Munzenrider
All of a sudden there was a new Polar video. We Blew It At Some Point premiered Aug. 17 in Malmö — surprise! — and before long some U.S. first-showings happened as well. It would be an instant classic if everyone were watching it all together.
Most viewers though, after the shock of the mostly unannounced video wore off, caught the movie more unofficially. Pornhub is the seeming skateboard video music rights workaround, a refuge for maybe illicit content of many kinds, and the good homies the internet over beamed links from inbox to inbox, a community effort indeed, albeit together alone. But the newest Polar video is something that deserved together-together viewing, to be crammed into basement VCRs 10,000 times over by adolescent skate rats who’re contemplated conflicting sentiments like tiny wheels together with nine-inch square-tail boards. In a perfect world it’d to be memorized, tricks plotted while the songs play in our heads.
The first eight minutes are an avalanche of pushes and slams, and while the rest of the half hour lets up ever so slightly, it’s a necessary let down. It’s easy to forget what manic pacing feels like in a skateboard video when internet days are filled with 11-minute raw clip collections and slightly slo-mo feeling factory Instagram clips set to that one beat that somehow never gets stuck in your head. The video’s tempo was actually shocking on first viewing, flashing back a generation to the intro of Welcome to Hell or one of the early Zero videos.
Credited as “A film composed by Pontus Alv,” We Blew It At Some Point builds its pace by doing away with many of the expository ticks and cuts that often split up ride-ups elsewhere. The most memorable clips and sections of the video exist in a sort of medium-long lens that’s a non-stop active gaze, most noticeable when, presumably, Tor Ström, the “filmed by” credit, is working the camera in Europe. The best of the camera work reminds of Fred Mortagne’s later long lens shots in Cliché’s Bon Appetit!, and makes effective use of the aspect ratio to create the illusion of being there. Dane Brady, the skater and perhaps a spiritual inspiration with respect to the whole project -- this is another guess -- does yeoman’s work behind the camera in (a guess again) Portland.
Emile Laurent pushes the opening of the video and then buddies up with Nick Boserio to create that initial avalanche that might be the most memorable four minutes of all; laugh-out-loud slams were explained and shown to my wife. David Stenström might have squared the circle and looks legit both in a bowl and on street, and Oskar Rozenberg’s lifetime achievement, for now, likely called a frontside alley-oop backside noseblunt slide, a series of movements so anti-intuitive that even he had to yell in response, shall always be shocking. Shin Sanbongi does the second-most shocking noseblunt-to-sliding-the-wrong-way in the video, and always seems to show up when you just need a good trick.
The East Coast American interludes with Aaron Herrington and Andrew Wilson offer We Blew ItAt Some Point’s most recognizable spot moments. Otherwise, the movie dips into surprises similar to what Primitive did in it’s recent similarly non-announced full-length that mined Greece for new places to skate, but with a northern European bent. There are the sights and there’s what’s heard -- sound mixer Jean-Louis Huhta, a 53-year-old Swedish musician who has a Wikipedia page, capitalized on all that glorious noise that makes skateboarding what it is. Cheers linger from one clip to another and skateboard sounds are seemingly pushed louder because they deserve to be. Speeding slappies travel from one audio channel to the other and the sound of asphalt terminates in your left ear after originating in the right -- wear headphones at least once while watching the video.
Hjalte Halberg, 31 and the other adult on the session, is the tech, theater-clapping constant in the video. Paul Grund, who skated a kinker rail in a puffy coat, provided the name of the film during a faded moment; Roman Gonzalez skated in a turtleneck. We Blew ItAt Some Point is an argument for more full-length skateboard videos, even if the arguments against have been piling up for years. Its pace ignores diminished attention spans; its length doesn’t require a justification. Still, it’s highly distilled compared to the company’s first film, I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Don’t Wake Me This Time. Both were obvious sentimental projects for Alv -- is that a picture of the filmmaker and his mother near the end of We Blew ItAt Some Point? -- though the latter release just shows rather than tells. It’s a series of memories and prompts for one’s own memories, surpassing Krooked’s Naughty in that regard -- just like, damn, that was a dope summer.
--Mike Munzenrider lives in Minneapolis.