By William Wolf


Years ago movie theaters used to show short films with the regular programs, and even with the double bills that were staples of movie-going. That practice disappeared, but filmmakers still often demonstrate their expertise, dedication and passions making shorts, which are a special art form. I recently caught the Shorts Program that was part of the 2014 Dance on Camera series presented January 31-February 4 by Dance Films Association at the Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Center of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The series featured full-length dance features as well, with Joanna Ney and and Liz Woff as overall co-curators. There were panel discussions too, and the event was a boon to those following the world of dance and also to the general public.

The Shorts Program that I attended featured 12 selections of varying lengths. What was apparent from the group was the wide range expanding on the idea of what constitutes dance. Body motion in various settings and under assorted choreographing concepts gave a broad meaning to dance, and imagination ranged widely in the intriguing works on view.

One striking short, for example, was the charming and artistically intriguing “The Prefect Dance,“ expertly written and directed by Anne Elvedal of Norway and choreographed by Ann-Terese Aasen, also of Norway. The genius of this particular film was reflected by its commendable imagination visualizing the quest for a fulfilling man-woman relationship through a life-spanning journey expressed in dance. The well-cast film begins with a ballerina figurine positioned in an open little box. From there, we follow a young couple amusingly and awkwardly going through dance steps.

The scene shifts to different partnered situations. Happiness—ultimately shown in the perfect dance symbolizing a satisfying relationship—finally emerges at the couple’s advanced age. A subsequent shot of the woman, now older, looking down at the beautiful child she once was made the life cycle complete. Amazingly, all of this was encompassed in a running time of only nine minutes. Much talent goes into creating such a film. Apart from the direction and choreography, the teamwork included music by Sverre Indris Joner, production design by Ann Kristin Talleraas, photography direction by Audun G. Magnes, editing by Simen Malmø, with Fredrik Støbakk as producer.

Other shorts also demonstrate lofty imagination. For example, “Carly’s Exit,” directed by Harry Amies, sensitively and boldly explores the subject of suicide. “Rules of the Game,” directed by Jeff and Rick Kuperman, deals with factory workers under eye of management. “No More Worry, No More Blue,” directed by Kathy Rose, comes in the form of a music video in which hand-made art morphs into elaborate conceptual scenes.

The series at Lincoln Center produced an extensive display of full features and documentaries chosen to be part of the annual “Dance on Camera,” this edition encompassing a wide perspective culled from the world of dance and united with the art of filmmaking. Reviewed February 8, 2014.


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