Words: Pat Bridges
Photos: Laura Austin
9191 is the numeric interpretation the name GIGI, albeit upside down and reversed which is fitting since that is how Gigi spends much of this avant-garde biopic. As the most highly anticipated shred flick release of this season it is no surprise that 9191 premiered to a packed house at Newport’s Lido Theatre on September 1st, 2010.
What is refreshingly apparent about this film is that it was in essence the product of three people; Gigi Rüf, Jake Price and DJ Baron. Their collective vision is consistent throughout the whole film and what each brings to the table in terms of riding, filming/editing and soundtrack blends seamlessly and compliments the whole. While there is an epic cast of cameos throughout the movie including Jake Blauvelt, Terje Haakanson, Nicolas Muller, skater Chris Pfanner and a half dozen others it is Gigi who makes 9191 so memorable.
One can assume that Gigi’s riding is a refined expansion on what he was most stoked about in his previous parts. He appears to have a genuine hunger for seeking natural transitions. The result is a spontaneous blend of progressive freestyle in places few others have taken it. The word spontaneous is key here because with the exception of a spackling of heli shots, Jake Price’s shooting seems just as natural as the terrain in the frame. In other words there doesn’t appear to be as many forced setup shots as in other modern films. This is where Veeco’s pedigree, that includes Subjekt Haakansen, becomes apparent.
Obviously Gigi’s riding provides that catalyst for this production. With a 12 month shooting schedule relying on one rider for the most part to carry the flick, things can get hectic yet Gigi appears to have not only busted his ass day in and day out, but also avoided getting burnt out. I make the latter assumption because throughout 9191 Gigi appears to be having a blast. It should be noted that Gigi did get hurt during the making of this film. When is anyone’s guess though because the little Austrian wunderkind produced nearly half an hours worth of bangers including super cab like cornice drops, double corks, hand plant variations galore, epic over/under doubles descents with Jake Blauvelt and more, more, more.
Jake Price shot in an eclectic mix of formats yet managed to mix it all together in the editing room in such a way that what would normally be overload, becomes a harmonic visual symphony that works. Speaking of symphonies the soundtrack, or more fittingly, score is provided by Baron. Again, this departure from the formula of underground hits du jour that have become quid pro quo for so many productions, or in the case of Volcom Entertainment, fuzz rock, is as compelling as the rest of the 9191 package and a welcomed approach.
Perhaps the best thing about 9191 is the fact that it isn’t a snowboard film made by committee. It has been said that no art has ever been made by committee and in the mind of this writer 9191 might be just that, art.