Dark City Beneath the Beat ★★★½

**While the 2020 SXSW Film Festival has been canceled due to the coronavirus, IndieWire is covering select titles from this year’s edition.**

In 1927, filmmaker Walter Ruttman rendered Berlin as a cinematic symphony; in 2020, TT the Artist uses her camera to remix Baltimore into a 65-minute banger. A full-body ode to her hometown and the incredible people who keep it bouncing in spite of everything else, “Dark City Beneath the Beat” isn’t just a blood-stained but ecstatically hopeful love letter to Bmore, it’s also the most danceable movie this side of “Girl Walk//All Day.”

“There are thousands of ways to tell this story,” the opening title card insists, but TT — an open-hearted musician best known for carnal dance club tracks like “Pussy Ate” and “Let Me See Ya” — finds one that feels unique to her. Taking a DJ-inspired approach to documentary cinema that finds TT seamlessly looping archival footage and original dance sequences into a kind of hyper-expressive cinematic flashmob, “Dark City” explodes onto the streets of Baltimore in a burst of fire. Man-on-the-street interviews with local icons like producer Mighty Mark (who contributed to TT’s killer score for the film) blur into expressively choreographed dance sequences on the strength of a thick beat that allows the whole town to feel like it’s moving in place.

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