Burn Baby Burn

"Weak"

Burn Baby Burn Review


Steve Payne (aka Paynie) takes us on a tour of the annual festival of art, drugs, and excess known as Burning Man. His 55-minute documentary is fun and lighthearted, but alas it lacks the critical eye that any enduring doc requires.

Burning Man, for the uninitiated, is billed primarily as a semi-performance art event wherein a nomadic city is constructed in the Nevada desert amid the dust. Its centerpiece is a giant humanoid statue that is set ablaze at the end of a week. For some of the 20,000+ inhabitants of "Black Rock City," Burning Man is a return to the hippie mentality of the 70s, for others it's an enormous rave for adults. For most of the world, it's a cryptic throwback, and Burn Baby Burn makes a few strides toward explaining the event to outsiders through candid interviews with its participants and shots of the ad hoc art exhibits that spring up from the dust.

But is this a documentary about Burning Man or is it just a fan's home video? There are no interviews with the organizers, no sense of how far the festival has come in the last 15 years. And there's no look at the dark side, either -- some 1,000 people needed medical treatment in 2000, mainly due to heat stroke. Drug overdoses are common; people have been critically injured or even killed in Black Rock City. All of this is absent in Payne's film, a love letter to Burning Man's art and orgies. That's fine if you're interested in a vaction video, but like much of the stuff you see at the festival itself, that doesn't mean it's art.

Lust in the dust.



Burn Baby Burn

Facts and Figures

Run time: 45 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd November 2000

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Steve Payne

Producer: Steve Payne

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