While documentaries purport to depict reality, not all realities are worthy of a documentary. Ingrid Veninger’s latest directorial effort, The World or Nothing, does not realize this. The documentary depicts a few days in the lives of Rupert and Rubildo Donatien Dinza. The two are rappers and dancers who are struggling to gain a following. The brothers are Cubans who moved in with family in Spain to take advantage of the country’s Internet freedom – something Cuba does not have – so that they can promote their music. Anyone hoping for insight into hip hop, immigration, Cuba or Spain will be left disappointed.

As people, the Dinza brothers seem nice – they clearly care about each other and their parents very much and have a charming, easy-going attitude. As musicians, they seem to be lacking; their only song that the movie showcases is highly repetitive, and they don’t have the stage presence of their genre’s luminaries, like Tupac Shakur of The Notorious B.I.G. That, however, is not an inherent problem. Great documentaries have been made about people who were good, bad, talented, and untalented.

The problem is the overall aimlessness of the film. Scenes from the twins’ life are edited together with no real sense of pacing, as The World or Northing has no real stakes. Rupert and Rubildo go about their daily business teaching dance classes, shooting low budget music videos and doing dishes as the film fails to develop anything resembling a plot. This works in favor of making the film realistic, but it doesn’t make the film any more interesting.

The best parts of The World or Nothing highlight the struggles that Rupert and Rubildo face. Their decision to move to Spain has separated the men from their beloved mother and if it weren’t for the kindness of their extended family, they would be starving artists. Even with the help of their relatives, their music hasn’t earned them real money or much of a following. Their greatest moment of prominence thus far has been a brief appearance on Spanish television. While The World or Nothing is too sedate and formless to be great cinema, it garners some pathos by portraying the struggles of artists under capitalism. The film serves a reminder to entertainers everywhere: be prepared to suffer for your art and make sure your movies have a plot.

Sunday, Apr 28, 1:15 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Thursday, May 2, 3:00 PM, Hart House Theatre