Branch Brook Park Roller Rink, located in Newark, NJ, is one of the few remaining urban rinks of its kind. This concrete structure is nestled in the pit of a hill bordered by public housing and a highway. Upon first glance, the exterior resembles a fallout shelter; however, the streamers and lights of the interior are reminiscent of 1970s roller discos. This vibrant film depicts a space cherished by skaters and a city struggling to move beyond its past and forge a new narrative amidst contemporary social issues.
The Rink illustrates a space transformed and its symbolic representation to those who use it. Two main characters emerge: Bonesaw, a tough talking, tattooed member of the Garden State Roller Derby Team; and Graylen, a deeply spiritual, Gospel Night skater. On the surface these two characters are different, both ideologically and in their social and racial backgrounds. However, the film reveals a shared past of violence and drug abuse from which the rink provides a much needed refuge.
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