BluRay/DVD Reviews

DANCE FOR CAMERA: Vol 1 & 2

By • Apr 25th, 2003 •

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Films selected from the Dance Camera West Festival in Los Angeles.
DVDs produced by Kelly Hargraves and Lynette Kessler, Distributed by First Run Features

Watching dance – just like dealing with any other art media – suggests an acquired taste. For a novice it might be boring or make no sense. But somehow the merging of dance and film creates a bridge of understanding and appreciation even for an onlooker who is immune to the arts or whose taste buds haven’t yet been developed. Cinema, being the most approachable and friendly form of creative endeavors, showcases the dance in the familiar frame of a screen and makes an audience’s experience nothing short of spectacular.

No word is spoken. Yet the drama is unfolded. No funny faces are made. Yet the viewer’s smile evolves into laughter. The beauty of the dancers’ movements, seen through the special eye of the camera, rhymed with natural movie sets and embellished by techniques of montage, elevates itself into sheer magic.

Each film has a different story, a different mood, and employs different dance styles. The forms of storytelling vary – from a literal fable to a more or less abstract expression of ideas. The geography of the tales stretches from Alpine Mountains to mourning chambers, from a vast shoreline to a tight wall corner, from an exotic countryside to a simple furnished room. Each dance style is appropriate for the atmosphere in which it takes place. Each piece represents a different level of mastery in dance and in filmmaking. And only a camera can capture the tint, the hint, the accent, the detail intended to be a sparkle, a quiet explosion, which would otherwise go unnoticed if the dance were performed in a theatre. Only film can splice, fragment, dissolve and magnify the movement so that it reads differently, modifying the message of the artist’s work.

The new film genre initiates the love of dance in the hearts of a broader audience than what this art might gather around the regular stage. As for people like myself, who’d been touched by Terpsichore for quite some time, watching dance on film becomes a triple delight. Or quadruple.


Disc One running time: 95 mins.
“Reines d’un Jour” by Pascal Magnin, Switzerland
“Measure” by 33 Fainting Spells, USA
“Rest In Peace” by Annick Vroom, Netherlands/UK
“A Village Trilogy” by Laura Taler, Canada
“Cornered” by Michael Downing, Canada
“Contrecoup” by Pascal Magnin, Switzerland

Disc Two running time: 50 mins.
“Boy” by Rosemary Lee and Peter Anderson, UK
“Burst” by Reynir Lyngdal and Katrin Hall, Iceland
“Cargo” by Kelly Hargraves, Canada
“Case Studies From The Groat Center For Sleep Disorders” by Mitchell Rose, Ashley Roland an Jamey Hampton, US
“Horses Never Lie” by Kathi Prosser and Caroline Richardson, Canada
“Motion Control” by Liz Aggiss, Billy Cowie and David Anderson, UK
“The Duchess” by Eric Koziol and Shinichi Iova-Koga, US

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