Hot Docs 2024: Our Review of ‘7 Beats Per Minute’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2024, Movies by - April 26, 2024
Hot Docs 2024: Our Review of ‘7 Beats Per Minute’

Jessea Lu is a shadow under the sea, trying to swim back up to the surface. Yuqi Kang’s new documentary depicts that moment, one of many that captures her participation within the sport that is freestyle diving. Yes, this is not the first documentary about the sport, coming out of the shadow of The Deepest Breath. The burgeoning sport comes with a corresponding microgenre that will have its similar beats. The two scenes that divide this documentary just happen to be the footage of the meets where Lu and fellow athletes break each other’s records. Both films also, duh, depict the arena where these athletes compete. But somehow, the sea never looks the same everytime Kang brings her camera to their depths. Lu and Kang also split narration duties which help 7 Beats Per Minute paint an equally complex portrait of both these women.

Lu and Kang, again, share those narrating duties in 7 Beats Per Minute, Lu isn’t its only talking head. Kang also includes interviews with a few admitted white people who participate in a mostly white sport. They give both racial and scientific context to freestyle diving. These interview subjects are mindful of the physical and psychological toll that comes with the sport. Diving isn’t the thing that’s taking both women (Kang, for what I gathered, is also a diver) to the edge. Both women open up to the other places their minds go when diving. Sometimes, both think about their family situations and figure out how their past contributes to the kind of women they are during filming. This documentary is a step up from Kang’s previous feature. This is also the second film this fest where Asians do white things and this does that subject better.

7 Beats Per Minute is part of this year’s Hot Docs.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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