Disco sucks! But we still don’t know why.
THE SECRET DISCO REVOLUTION (Jamie Kastner). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (June 28). See listings. Rating: NN
If there was something revolutionary about disco, it's certainly a secret to Jamie Kastner.
The filmmaker takes up Hot Stuff author Alice Echols's assertion that the disco movement was subversive and politically liberating for the marginalized. Unfortunately, the only person willing to corroborate that theory on camera is Echols herself. That doesn't deter Kastner from building a film on that airy idea by creating a tongue-in-cheek fictional plot about the revolution's masterminds while sifting through the disco archives.
Though there are some cute moments and a decent history of the music, the film is stuffed with incoherent arguments, speculation and sweeping statements that anger even the Village People.
The whole thing feels like a tease, suggesting that women, gays and African Americans found expression within the popular genre - an intriguing idea - but failing to validate these claims. The first sincere moment occurs when Kastner, realizing the weightlessness of his argument, finally shares in the audience's frustration; it almost feels like an apology.
This doc, like disco, has little to offer, but I guess we should credit Kastner for finding a way to dance around the subject for as long as he does.