United Skates (NR)
Meanwhile, the filmmakers survey life today on the rink scene, charting the differences in skate style between different cities. Skaters demonstrating techniques for the directors' cameras make for continual highlights. And much of the present-day free-skate footage, shot at what have come to be known as "Adult Nights" at skating rinks, also proves invigorating. Relish the momentum, the joy and the peacocking pride of grown-up skaters.
The skating rink and those African-American "Adult Nights" are endangered, of course. Rising real estate prices have inspired landlords to give rinks the boot. Then there’s the persistent heartbreaking truth that white folks -- and law enforcement -- get so easily scared by the prospect of black Americans gathering together. Often, a scene-survey doc that takes on so much -- cultural history, present-day portraiture, regional distinctions, celebrity interviews, fly-on-the-wall reportage -- can play as scattershot. That’s not so with United Skates. Round and round it flows -- why not jump on in?