The voiceover in this trailer for Dragonslayer, the documentary that won Best Documentary and Best Cinematography awards at SXSW, is your standard “screw the government” claptrap. Avoid corporations, don’t do anything that will contribute taxes, rely only on yourself. That last tenet is pretty good, but the speech as a whole comes off as absurdly naive. Because one presumes that the skateboarding kids in Dragonslayer need roads to skate on as they navigate from one empty house and forgotten pool to another. And I don’t think the polyurethane in the wheels under their skate decks was able to develop itself.

But that’s part of what makes Dragonslayer appealing. Beyond the fact that the Best Cinematography award looks like it may have been deserved, it’s that sense of total youthful, punk rock disconnect. The movie looks like a window into a world that most of us would never think of living in. And that’s one of the core ideas of the documentary, right? 

DRAGONSLAYER documents the transgressions of a lost skate punk falling in love in the stagnant suburbs of Fullerton, California in the aftermath of America’s economic collapse. Taking the viewer through a golden SoCal haze of broken homes, abandoned swimming pools and stray glimpses of unusual beauty, DRAGONSLAYER captures the life and times of Josh “Skreech” Sandoval, a local skate legend and new father, as his endless summer finally collides with the future. Set to the alternately roaring and dreamy soundtrack of bands from the indie label Mexican Summer and Kemado Records–including Best Coast, Bipolar Bear, Children, Dungen, Eddy Current and the Suppression Ring, Golden Triangle, Jacuzzi Boys, Little Girls, Real Estate, The Soft Pack, Saviours, as well as DEATH and Thee Oh Sees–DRAGONSLAYER is a punk-rock manifesto to youth, love and learning to survive after the decline of western civilization.

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