27 August 2005 | iedsri
Kate Bush's longtime fans know that it's a mistake to expect conventional music from her (as everyone will be able to verify in the fall of 2005, when her first album in more than 12 years is scheduled to be released at last). It would be just as much a mistake to expect conventional film-making from her. Bush's music is often accessible, but don't look for linear narrative, expository dialog, establishing shots or even consistent angle of view. Kate Bush tells stories not directly, not rationally -- in other words, not from a distance. Rather, she lets her viewers experience her characters' situations from within the vertigo they themselves are experiencing. For example, during the section featuring the song "Moments of Pleasure," there are extended twirling shots done not for want of imagination (Kate Bush lacking imagination?!) but to reach intended expressive and dramatic ends while simultaneously paying tribute to past cinematic models (the most direct references are to the 1948 classic 'The Red Shoes,' by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the former of whom Bush befriended shortly before his death in 1990 and in honor of whom her attendant album of 1993 was named). When the camera twirls again at several other key points in the film, it becomes clear that camera movement has emerged as a new tool in Kate's rich, thematic symbol-language (the title refers to three slips of paper, each featuring a visual symbol, all fluttering in constant motion throughout the film). Likewise the lighting, costumes, sets, choreography, and dialog insinuate themselves impressionistically, subtly, allusively -- pointing the viewer gently toward unanswered questions, hiding within the glorious folds of Bush's musical cloak-of-many-colors. There is profound organized thinking in every frame of The Line, the Cross and the Curve, but it doesn't appear at first viewing. Fortunately, you don't need to look for clarity to appreciate Kate Bush's art: there's plenty of sheer entertainment value to be had found in the sublime riot of raw genius.