Brett Novak’s skateboarding films are on par with the visuals you might find at an art exhibit or gallery, and “India Within” may be his best yet.
Novak’s films are famous for their attention to detail and absorbing, vibrant colors. For “India Within,” Novak teamed up with frequent partner and one of the skateboarding’s best flatland riders, Kilian Martin.
We’ve seen Martin before in the Mojave desert at one of the creepier skate locations. It’s clear his partnership with Brett has taken his skateboarding to a different plane; one where the movements of the camera combine with his smooth skate lines and a tapestry of tints to evoke a balletic performance beyond the whistling shriek of most skate films.
Novak, who goes by the username Bragic on YouTube, has been releasing skate films for years now, but he’s only started this new element of washing bold colors and environments together within his more recent pieces. The result elevates normal skate films to an aesthetic crescendo rather than a jumbled mess of grinds and ollie jumps. In a lot of ways, Martin’s unorthodox freestyle flatland riding is the perfect complement to Novak’s aim within the niche of skate filmography.
For “India Within,” Novak and Martin traveled to India to film against the divergent dichotomy of a modern metropolis and the ancient culture the country still clings to in a rapidly interdependent world.
Watch as Martin performs his kicks and spins with a pastiche of reds, yellows, browns and blues in the background. Novak intercuts contemporary peasant Indians engaged in centuries old rituals with Martin’s technical brilliance on a board to form a symbiosis that is arresting in its juxtaposition. Sometimes, this old world culture combines with Martin’s pastoral flatland style to transcend the gap separating old India with the new.
Take it all in, and then take it in again. The colors and the cinematography alone might make you think of a travel documentary, but only when you see Martin spinning on a skateboard on one leg do you realize that “India Within” is a skate film unlike any other you’ve experienced.