The District: Hip-Hop Hungarians Threaten President Bush

Yo, check my mad Magyar rhymin' skillz, y'all. This animated Budapest ghetto rap-sody is a mash-up between Romeo and Juliet and agitprop comic books, featuring cameos by Bush, Blair, Putin, Chirac, bin Laden, and Sharon. (It was made in 2004 and seen here at SIFF '06, so the petro-politics are only somewhat dated.) Two petty criminal families, one Roma and the other Hungarian, vie for control of their hood, cheerfully bribing the cops—who even more cheerfully accept—while their kids tussle at the local high school. Sweet young Jules crushes on bright Gypsy lad Richie, whose grandfather advises him, "No money, no pussy." So, check this out: Kids set aside their differences, invent a time machine, travel back to the Stone Age, and plant mastodons—that is, future black gold—beneath their impoverished district. After that, well, the superpowers don't take kindly to this upstart OPEC playa on their turf. Since, outside of South Park, cartoons and politics generally don't mix, The District is a bold, vulgar treat, full of hip-hop serenades, dancing Russian hookers, international intrigue, and all manner of goofs on the ghetto culture we've exported so successfully to the Wild East. Director Áron Gauder employs a flat animation style recalling Waking Life: Faces have been motion-captured from real actors; then those talking heads are slapped onto Hanna-Barbera marionette bodies. Though computer-crafted, there's no smooth, shiny CGI glow to The District; it's more like an R. Crumb virus has infected the software.

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