on this release (aptly entitled
the Merce Cunningham Dance Company:
Robert Rauschenberg Collaborations) are three separate films (Suite For Five, Summerspace, and Interscape).
Merce Cunningham is an accomplished and
famous dance company with a long and prosperous history. This release
represents the combined efforts of filmmaker Charles Atlas and designer
Rauschenberg, who collaborated on each of these three unique
projects. The composer John Cage contributed scores for Suite
For Five and Interscape.
Fans of dance on film productions will find that there are many
enjoy within this release.
bottom line, as I see it: This set should manage to appeal to newcomers
veteran dance aficionados alike by featuring an eclectic mix of
performance art. The combined run time of the three films is pretty
than two hours total), but that doesn't prevent it from feeling like an
engaging experience from start to finish. Dedicated
fans of these dance collaborations should be aware that some of these
performances are updated versions and not the original versions
released in the
For Five Running Time: 25:58
Suite For Five (originally
produced in 1956; now presented with the 2003 version) was perhaps my
favorite performance due to the minimalist nature of the production.
The film felt
particularly abstract beyond my expectations and it was an
journey with an aura of sadness to the dancing that wasn't quite
fitting to my preferences.
The dancing was still impressive. Apparently, this is one of the more
Running Time: 22:05
in 1958; now presented with the 1999 version) was probably the most
of the three films. The dancing was the most energetic and the stage
colorful and reminded me of abstract paintings. Watching the dancers
the stage to that kind of backdrop made it feel as though Atlas was
his ink across a canvas in a way that reflected a bizarrely emotional
made me feel a wide range of emotions punctuated by true wonder.
Running Time: 47:05
last feature on
this set, is the original 2000 version and it was a good way to round
set. The stage design appeared to be more impressive technically than
found on either of the other recordings and the superb dancing often
passionate - breezily romantic and with a sense of wonder that was more
fantastical than the other works highlighted on this release.
three of the included films are presented in the
original 1:85:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic widescreen enhancement.
picture quality is rather mundane regardless, to say the least, and
really spark a lot of interest in the visuals with the reproduction
noticed a lot of jagged lines on all three films and it was
distraction from my experience. Colors were also pretty flat and not
impressive. Nothing really stood out about the video. Granted, the
were still presentable but the overall quality of this set wasn't
close to being an example of finely polished video.
Given the fact that these films are so
dramatically short (with a combined run time of only 97 minutes) it's a
that these films were spread across three discs when the presentation
doesn't seem impressive enough to warrant it.
audio isn't anything to write home about. The musical scores composed
Cage (Suite For Five, Interscape) and
Morton Feldman (Summerspace) are decently
reproduced with the audio. It's only a standard mix for each segment,
surround sound activity, and there is no dialogue featured at all. The
fails to feel dynamic but it does manage to get the job done fairly
these basic technical recordings.
are no video extras included on this box-set (which was a bit
had been hoping for some behind the scenes material to help shed light
works of performance art. Luckily, the set does include a rather
booklet which includes a fascinating essay as well as pictures from
renditions of these performances.
an interesting set which consists of three
rather unique and accomplished dance performances. There is no story or
narrative. These evocative performances should mostly appeal to fans of
who find experimental works such as this fascinating and important to
This release will mesmerize those who are in tune with this art. Recommended.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.