Quality of Life is an indie produced film that focuses on two San Franciscan generation-Y slackers (Heir and Vain) that work as house painters during the day and do graffitti at night.
The actors have the fluid style of experienced graff artists and it was nice to see the posh areas towards Pacific Heights, the delapidated factories of the Industrial City and the boho-meets-underclass vibe of the Mission district.
They get busted and this put a strain on their friendship. The film shows all aspects of the graffitti artists life including boosting paint from a shop, getting processed in a police station and the arguments between Heir and his father went to the core about the artistic, political, economic and criminal nature of graffitti.
The directors had an eye for detail and managed to accurately capture the atmosphere of a blues. The film catalogues the strains in the relationship between the two graff artists as Vain goes off the rails and Heir struggles to stay on the tracks.
And of course it wouldn’t be San Francisco if there wasn’t a thread of Buddhist philosophy in the story as well. Quality of Life is a compelling film, especially if you have been in the life or tried to achieve something creatively whilst holding down a dead-end job.
I’d go as far as describing this as a graffitti or even a hip-hop classic (graffitti is one of the four pillars of hip hop along with breaking, DJing and rapping) classic, it beats the crap out of of graff films like Turk 182.
Also check out the extras for the behind-the-scenes epilogue section in which they producer talks about how they used the web to help the word-of-mouth process for the US launch of the film – using interns to update their MySpace page and interact with the online audience around-the-clock for a week prior to the films launch in New York.