16 February 2001 | Keltic-2
Complex, powerful, moving
_Waterdance_ explores a wide variety of aspects of the life of the spinally injured artfully. From the petty torments of faulty fluorescent lights flashing overhead to sexuality, masculinity and depression, the experience of disability is laid open.
The diversity of the central characters themselves underscores the complexity of the material examined - Joel, the writer, Raymond, the black man with a murky past, and Bloss, the racist biker. At first, these men are united by nothing other than the nature of their injuries, but retain their competitive spirit. Over time, shared experience, both good and bad, brings them together as friends to support one another.
Most obvious of the transformations is that experienced by Joel, who initially distances himself from his fellow patients with sunglasses, headphones and curtains. As he comes to accept the changes that disablement has made to his life, Joel discards these props and begins to involve himself in the struggles of the men with whom he shares the ward.
The dance referred to in the title is a reference to this daily struggle to keep one's head above water; to give up the dance is to reject life. _Waterdance_ is a moving and powerful film on many levels, and I do not hesitate to recommend it.