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Review: ROY G. BV II

Exactly one year after the release of their first short film, the ROY G. BV crew returned to the Wadsworth Anthanum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT to reveal ROY G. BV II. A stark contrast to the original documentary, this time around the film had a much more personal feel to it, offering the audience an intimate look at the lives and minds of Joey Batts, Rudy and Bklyn Lo as they traveled to Nova Scotia.

Surrounded by both friends and strangers, Batts, Rudy and Bklyn sat amongst those in attendance as the film played, before taking the stage to thank everyone for coming out. Having amassed supportive circles and fan bases in their own right through music, videography and other endeavors, ROY G. BV II served as a means of telling the creators’ personal stories while also providing onlookers with some deeper revelations on society, conditioning, fear, the process of creating art, and more.

While the original ROY G. BV was crafted in a very linear fashion, transitioning through the colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet – telling bits and pieces of people’s stories, II opted for a less organized approach. The colors were all there but at no point was one color clearly the focus of a segment of the film, at least not in an explicit way. Despite not touching on the ways in which we can relate to each other’s stories based on emotions felt, in a somewhat poetic fashion, the displaced nature of ROY G. BV II at times felt more in line with the natural progression and flow of life. Rarely do we feel one emotion/color. Life, and the feelings that come with living, is most frequently an overlapping array of highs and lows, euphoria and sadness, certainty and doubt, love and fear.

This time around, viewers seldom see any of the faces of those individuals being “interviewed”. And the dialogue between Batts and the people he chops it up with is far more limited than the previous film. Again, this creates a vibe that II is intended more to be about the lives and journey of those who created the film – everyone has a story, as the original film showcased so wonderfully; II is telling the story of Rudy, Bklyn and Joey, in a simultaneously intimate and ambiguous way.

In a conversation I had with Batts following the premiere, he explained to me how whenever the cameras turned on for an interview, the subject would change their demeanor – as if, with the click of record, their authenticity was gone.

Perhaps the final product is not what the crew had in mind when they first embarked on their journey. It’s possible ROY G. BV was originally intended to be more along the lines of the first film but was altered due to unexpected events and a lack of control of the content they were able to capture. In a way, this would accentuate a great deal of what we do witness throughout the film and would only serve to highlight how special the movie is.

Throughout the film, we experience laughs – a lot of laughs. At times, the use of humor helps to ease various degrees of tension, as well as lift viewers back up after some of the more dark or emotional moments. Anyone who has spent time with those involved in the film would be aware of their overwhelming senses of humor and ROY G. BV does an amazing job capturing their ability to use humor – sometimes genuinely and sometimes as a mask for the fear, pain or depression they may be experiencing.

And, from my perspective, this is one of the film’s most captivating aspects. Thanks to Bklyn’s videography, we get a firsthand view of the Nova Scotia trip. The film is centered around their travels but littered beneath the dialogues, monologues and commentary on how breathtaking the views are, the crew are utilizing their stories and their accounts to open up live streams of consciousness into our own psyches. Without spoiling specific scenes, there is such a great deal of relatable content throughout ROY G. BV II on the ways and means in which our lives are impacted – both positively and negatively – by fear, becoming comfortable, holding on to – or letting go of – the past, conditioning by society as a whole and by the people around you (family, friends, etc.)…

On the surface, ROY G. BV II feels more lighthearted than ROY G. BV. And I think that’s due to the laughs and the genuine love that exists between Batts, Rudy and Bklyn. But, in regards to lessons and depth, there is just as much – if not more – to take away and learn from II. The viewer just has to dig a little deeper and try not to get caught up solely on the adventure taking place in the forefront.

Like the scenery witnessed over the course of filming, ROY G. BV II feels so natural. It’s a home movie, it’s fun, it’s smooth, it’s awkward…it’s real. And, thanks to the authenticity of those who brought the film to life, that’s what makes ROY G. BV II such a special experience.

Of course, it would be wildly inappropriate not to mention the outstanding sonic landscape upon which the movie takes place. As is pointed out in the film, Rudy is really on a different level when it comes to creating. The way he puts sounds together…like, it leaves me speechless. And what he did for ROY G. BV II is no different. The music is breathtakingly beautiful, as Rudy manages to capture in music the exact vibe brought forth through the image on the screen and any dialogue that may have taken place.

I listen to a lot of music and I know a lot of people who dedicate their energy to creating music. But I can’t think of many who, time and time again, leave me on my Ron Simmons with nothing to say but…DAMN!

Fortunately, the soundtrack to ROY G. BV II will be liberated for our listening pleasure sooner rather than later.

Hopefully, at some point in time, both ROY G. BV and ROY G. BV II will be available for the general public to view at their leisure. Until that time comes, I’m grateful to have had the pleasure of experiencing both films in person. Although ROY G. BV II is certainly a fun experience for those who know Joey, Rudy and Bklyn, it undoubtedly has the potential to strike a chord with a wider audience, much like the original. We’re all here on Earth together, experiencing life in our own ways, on our own unique journeys, man. ROY G. BV II helps put that into perspective with some touching dialogue, aesthetically pleasing images and a wonderful accompanying soundtrack.


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