Opening 2 Nov 2017
Twenty-three-year-old Patricia Dombrowski (Macdonald) has one goal in life: recognition as a talented rapper. She has been on the music scene for a while, often appearing with her musician friends Jheri (Dhananjay) and Basterd (Athie), where she is known as Killa P or Patti Cake$. It’s a hard road to the top, and, until then, she works for Lou in his Karaoke Bar (where she can also perform). She must share her waning time and energy with her difficult mother Barb (Everett), who also visualizes herself as a successful singer, as well as her failing granny Nana (Moriarty) in their home in “dirty” Jersey.
Patti Cake$ was well received at the Sundance and Cannes festivals. It was no less successful at the Filmfest Hamburg, where I saw it. My cinema was sold out, and the audience bopped and clapped from one song to the next, 31 songs in all. Each time we heard an “uh” we knew: Let’s get rapping, which is a very complicated form of music. I saw an English-language version with German subtitles, which was an opportunity to compare the two languages in the vocabulary of rap. Filmed in New Jersey and New York, this is Jasper’s first full-length feature film. It ends with a reverse in style, namely a well-known song by Bruce Springsteen – a role model of achievement in the music world. (Becky Tan)