There are few films that make me feel as if I am happy to be alive. But when I experience Skate Kitchen, inundated with warm colors, an upbeat soundtrack, and most importantly, women simply being themselves, I realize the importance of passion, support and comradery. Crystal Moselle, I feel, truly captures one of the most authentic depictions of female friendship on-screen.
Based on the real-life skate troupe of the same name, the film is a hybrid of traditional narrative and documentary. Moselle knows the advantages of her leads, and the chemistry between all of them is contagious. Intimacy permeates throughout every nuance of the film. With welcoming arms and no judgment, the women are safe among one another. Various identities intersect, but no woman takes the opportunity to bring down others. The director uses every moment to emphasize a sense of how female identity can take many forms, and how these various identities can unite for a common passion.
In fact, the core of the film relies on this microcosm of the skate park – like the park, our male-dominated Western world actively prevents the influence of female voices. There is little doubt that this narrative reflects the experiences of the female artists and director. The ‘skate kitchen’ emphasizes the need to see women, especially black and queer women, have their voices uplifted in spaces typically reserved to men. However, despite the women in the film being faced with sexism, racism, and homophobia, they continue their passions – inviting the audience to do the same.
Skate Kitchen is a manifestation of the passion that drives these girls, an ode to youth and the importance of maintaining voice in male-dominated spaces. In the first skate montage, while Move Your Feet blares in the New York City backdrop, the camera follows these women skating, making us in perpetual motion with them—with every movement, with every push on concrete, propelling the audience toward them. Despite never having stepped foot on a skateboard, I feel that the film depicts how it feels for these characters, these women, to skate—with the skateboard itself representing both a voice and medium for female empowerment.
Skate Kitchen is available to stream on Hulu, and for purchase and rental on YouTube, Amazon, and Vudu. Follow the real-life Skate Kitchen on Twitter, as well as Crystal Moselle and the film. Visit the dedicated websites for Crystal Moselle and the film.