Movies and Documentaries Featuring Parkour
Cold weather has come to Canada; last week brought us the first real snow of the year. We are thinking on ways to practice parkour during the fast approaching winter season, but until we figure it out we can always take time to watch a movie!
My Playground: A documentary about the philosophy of buildings working together with humans to make the environment we live in, and how a progressive country and culture can truly embrace functionality. The culture of parkour in Denmark is captured, along with the design and construction of its first parkour park. Interviews with practitioners around the world confirms a common thread between traceurs; the freedom of parkour resonates the same with many, regardless of race or origin. An enjoyable documentary, there are some great parkour moves but the focus isn’t excitement, it’s about education.
Banlieu 13 (District B13): Film starring the creator of parkour: David Belle! The movie has a simple plot where a hero rising from the slums thwarts the bad guy’s plans. Belle is a rebel with a conscience who is forced to team up with a do-gooder super-cop (Cyril Raffaelli) with similar butt kicking parkour skills. District B13 features epic scenes of David escaping through the city and creative parkour-like fight scenes. The English dubbing is awful; French audio with English subtitles is recommended. An OK movie, but if you are watching just for the stunts (and really, why else would you be watching this) you’ll find the plot gets in the way of some perfectly good parkour.
Banlieu 13 Ultimatum (District B13 Ultimatum): Sequel to the first Banlieu 13, David and Cyril teaming up again to thwart an evil plot against B13. Learning our lesson from the first movie, we skipped the English dub and when straight to the French audio with English subtitles. Surprising for a B movie sequel, the plot was better than the first movie, and again, the parkour was fantastic but there should have been more.
Jump London: Documentary featuring Sebastien Foucan and several other traceurs who take to the rooftops of famous buildings in London to film their parkour and freerunning. The film is serious, and describes the legalities and public perception of parkour/freerunning and how the group obtained permission (or not) to use the buildings for filming their sport. Sebastien talks about the origins of freerunning and there are interviews with members of the group explaining why they practice and what inspires them. The documentary is a piece of parkour history and the background information is interesting, but the purpose of the documentary, the freerunning that was filmed, was anticlimactic. There is a similar sequel documentary called Jump Britain.