Every time I write about 12 O’Clock Boys, Lotfy Nathan’s documentary film about Baltimore’s dirt bike riders, a slew of comments ensue: These kids are exhibiting a blatant disregard for the law, making our streets unsafe, and even causing accidents that kill people.
Well, anti-dirt bikers, now’s your chance to start some beef with the New York Times, which featured an article about the 12 O’Clock Boys by Nathan in yesterday’s op-ed section.
In his article, Nathan gives readers glimpses of some of the riders he met during his four years filming the riders–and they may surprise you:
I met Steven (who like many in the film requested I withhold his last name), a hard-working longshoreman, and a veteran rider, who by his late 30s had moved to Baltimore County with his family. He discussed his own childhood, growing up in inner-city Baltimore with no means, experiencing violence and drugs. Riding was his escape. It was a brief moment in which he could forget about his troubles with a rush of adrenaline.
I also met a 12-year-old, Pug, who zipped around his block on a little four-wheeler and aspired to join the group. He seemed to embody the child that Steven used to be. Right in front of his house were drugs, violence and instability. By 13 he had a wary perspective on life and a painfully close understanding of death.
In any case, we’re excited to see Nathan’s documentary, which debuted at South by Southwest last year and is scheduled to screen in theaters starting next month.
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