Sunday, 26 April 2020

FILM REVIEW: Three short films: Random Acts - Sadler's Wells, London and Channel 4.


Three short dance films (averaging around 3:15 minutes each), in a co-production between Channel 4 and Sadler's Wells, and collectively titled, 'Random Acts'. They are available to wacth on YouTube.

The first of the three, INA ("Light") shows two black dancers dancing quasi-traditional moves but with a definite contemporary twist. It is dimly lit, almost too dim. It is an empty space. As the dance progresses we see a further two people looking at them, almost accusingly. Gradually the space becomes lighter and lighter and the sun streams in through an open window. We see the space is painted white and is airy. The two onlookers have turned their backs on the dancers. The dancers' movements are freer. The silence and stillness.

Reading the notes to the dance I understand that this represented the black people's fear of oppression and the chaos that ensued. It also seemed, for me at least, to represent a much wider and perhaps more contraversial theme... the more Westernised and 'white' the black person becomes the more accepted and at ease the whites are with them, and the more they shun their tribal roots, the less 'honoured' they are with and by their own heritage. (??)

Directed by Aneil Karia, choreographed by Alesandra Seutin, and danced by Nandi Bhebhe and Kennedy Muntanga, with muisc by Randolph Matthews.

The second film, 'Other', showed two female dancers, contort with each other. There is pain and understanding. There is a love / hate relationship in play here. The kind that one cannot live without the other and yet together they are constantly pulling each other different ways. The dance chronicles the constantly shifting ideas of identy and the nature of relationships. The music mirrors this well with long, haunting sounds, as well as the setting for this film being a derelict, ruined industrial building. (a place that once hummed with the hive of industry and human interaction which is now left empty and to rot).

Directed by Cordelia Beresford, choreographed by Julie Cunningham, and danced by Cunningham and  Eleanor Perry, with music by Neil Catchpole.

The final film in this mini-series is 'Reach'. Written, directed and edited by Billy Boyd Cape, he has collaborated with choerographer Botis Seva (who dances the piece himself), and 'Far From The Norm' who play the other roles in this short. We see a black man hugging and holding his tiny toddler. He dresses and leaves the house. He walks down the street, never to return. His inner-monologue is choroegraphed as he goes through a whole gambit of emotional conflict. It's the most cinematic of the three and also the most easily understandable as there is a recognisable narrative to this film. Focusing on themes such as love, abandonment and fatherhood, the dance is a fusion of post-modern, contemporary African and hip-hop.

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 25/4/20

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