By Roger Costa
WRITTEN ON WATER
Swedish choreographer/director Pontus Lidberg gathers an exuberant group of male dancers in this beautifully crafted and convincingly organic study on the romantic risks involving those in the process of creating body-language art. Centered on a female choreographer who is facing a personal emotional crisis while putting up together a new work, the film is narrated through the combination of drama, dance and lyricism found in their interactions. As she reflects on a recent break-up, she seeks inspiration to achieve her new project which explores human desire. In the other side of the stage, two male dancers develop an intense and co-dependent affair, turning into an ambiguous love triangle. An insightful, intimate look at the challenges of creating movements and dance forms, Lidberg scores an amusing experience, brilliantly shot and unexpectedly erotic, where reality and illusions merge through their body expressions.
(Screens 7/16 at 7pm at Walter Reade Theater.)
Digging up the history and influential power of jazz dance and music, this highly entertaining documentary helmed by Khadifa Wong travels through time, rhythms, styles and mediums to explore the essentiality of the African-infused cultural phenomenon. Interviewing industry experts, acclaimed choreographers and notorious performers, Wong infuses adrenaline and precise storytelling in every turn, conceiving an important statement on jazz’s influences over politics, society and other cultures. With archive footage and immersive testimonies, as well as a display of the talent of many renowned artists, this lively homage to jazz exposes their passionate and personal motivations, and the meaning of it in their lives.
(Screens 7/18 at 7pm at Walter Reade Theater.)
In abstract scenarios over several locations, SHIFT follows a couple exercising their movements in an elegantly sensual and evocative style. Seductive and inventively edited, Claire Marshall’s award-winning film is an immersive and authentic exploration on the evolutions and infinite possibilities of contemporary dance.
In BEND, director Susan Misner addresses timely topics related to racial ethics, loyalty, violence and loss through the impressive performance of a Caucasian woman and her African-American boyfriend set in an arena field. They attend a football game where the boyfriend takes a knee during the National Anthem, sparking controversy and social judgment. The result is thought-provoking and heart moving.
(Presented by Dance Films Association and Film At Lincoln Center, the 49th DANCE ON CAMERA FESTIVAL runs July 16-18 featuring In-Person screenings at Walter Reade Theater and accessible Nationwide thru its Virtual Cinema portal. Go to www.filmlinc.org for details.)