7 December 2019 | lor_
Inspiration plus commitment to cinema and dance
A remarkable achievement by filmmaker Alla Kovgan, spending seven years to make this classic tribute to the late dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham.
Working with both archive footage and valuable sound recordings, she conjures up the avant-garde artist through recordings of his work, his philosophy of his art and comments by many close collaborators including notably John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg. Not meant as a biopic, film concentrates on spectacularlhy cinematic (in 3-D) new performances of many of his dances, executed by members of his company, which disbanded in 2011, after Merce's death in 2009.
At a q&a following the screening, Kovgan indicated that Wim Wenders' innovative 2011 3-D dance film about German choreographer Pina Bausch inspired her to take on this formidable project, finally starting shooting in Stuttgart in 2015 with principal photography taking place in 2018.
Her use of 3-D technique is outstanding, resulting in gripping visual images, enhanced by the accompaniment of the original dance scores by John Cage and others. For a novice like me, not overly familiar with Merce's achievements, the movie brings his dance to life and points to how 3-D technology can be used artfully rather than as a gimmick, or its current excuse to permit higher price points for movie admissions to films, both animated and action-oriented, that should play just as well if not better in 2-D on large screens.