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Dust to Glory

An exhilarating ride along with the Baja 1000 race!

“To say of a movie that it makes you feel like taking a shower afterward usually isn’t taken as a compliment. In the case of Dana Brown’s Dust To Glory, it should be. When you emerge from the theatre after this documentary about the world’s longest nonstop point-to-point road race, you haven’t just learned something about the Baja 1000 – you feel like you’ve been there, right down to the crick in your tailbone, the rattle in your jaw and the thick layer of silt that covers your body from head to toe. And it’s absolutely exhilarating.“Directed by Brown, who two years ago made the outstanding surf documentary Step Into Liquid, Dust To Glory was cut down from more than 250 hours of footage of the 2003 race, shot by a 90-man crew, and the result is a piece of interactive moviemaking that employs no special effects to hurtle us into the action. Pound for pound, it’s more kinetically thrilling than anything Hollywood has produced in years, not least of all because it’s real.“At a moment when American sports culture in general – and so-called extreme sports in particular – has been subjected to relentless corporatizing and commercialization, what’s glorious about Dust To Glory is how Brown’s giddy, childlike enthusiasm remains – unlike the bones of some of his subjects – intact. It’s a movie made by a kid who never stopped dreaming of go-carts or looking at televised auto racing and thinking, ‘Cool!’ “Established in 1967, the Baja 1000 is a gruelling, daylong trek across that many miles of unpredictable off-road terrain, where the obstacles are both natural (blinding dust clouds and perilous mountain passes) and man-made (the drunken spectators who regularly stumble onto the course). Over the years, the participants have ranged from the famous to the anonymous, from the young (represented in Brown’s film by 16-year-old Andy McMillan) to the young-at-heart (like Andy’s granddad, 74-year-old Corky McMillan). And when they race, they do so in just about everything imaginable this side of a bathtub on wheels, be it motorcycle, unmodified Volkswagen Beetle or state-of-the-art 800-horsepower dune buggies whose exorbitant cost outpaces the race-winning purse.“But as Dust To Glory makes clear early on, the Baja 1000 isn’t remotely about money. For some, like veteran motorcyclist Mike ‘Mouse’ McCoy, who elects to run the race solo, it’s a gladiatorial combat of man and machine against the elements. For others, like the McMillans and the all-female team composed of racers’ wives and daughters, it’s a family tradition passed down from one generation to the next. For all of them, the glory lies not (or not only) in the winning, but in an incomparable sense of freedom generated by miles of open road stretching out toward the horizon like waves at dawn.“Dust to Glory balances the individual, graceful, death-defying triumphs with hammering defeats, flurries of furious racing action with bursts of physical comedy. Yet, for all Dust To Glory’s visceral charge, what lingers most is its hearty embrace of so many varieties of human experience. That’s emblematic of the perspective Brown brings to just about everything he turns his camera on: a sweetly naïve openness toward the world � an optimism, if you will.� – Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
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Directed by: 
Dana Brown
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Screenplay by: 
Dana Brown

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