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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

‘United Skates’ celebrates a disappearing subculture

As a theater known for showing independent, often challenging cinema, the Magic Lantern has been screening an even more intriguing series of films. Its Monday Movies series, which carries the subtitle "true stories, bold visions," debuted on Feb. 18 with the Osar-nominated documentary "Hale County This Morning, This Evening."

Tonight at 7, the Lantern will show "United Skates," a 2018 documentary study of roller-skating culture. Here is a description offered by IMDB.com: "When America's last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture — one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world's greatest musical talent."

And here are a few critical comments:

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "A celebration of a vibrant black subculture that also shows how discrimination can pervade even the most harmless pastime."

Teo Bugbee, New York Times: "This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects."

Peter Debruge, Variety: "This kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there."

Tickets to the Monday Movies series are $8. And the price is well worth it.