Dance for Camera is a DVD that offers some of the better short dance films that have been going around on the film festival circuit the past couple of years.
There are six films on the DVD:
Reines d'un Jour (Pascal Magnin – Switzerland)
This 22 minute short features a group of men and women dancing expressively all around the green hilly pastures of Switzerland. Beautifully shot and choreographed the film develops its own dance language. It may be a tad long but it's enjoyable to watch the principle actors work out the story, which is partly based on The Three Maids of St Luc" .
Measure (Dayna & Gaelon Hanson - USA)
This six minute short has two dancers in a hallway who do a tap dance that is at first out of synch and then eventually in synch. It feels more like a film/dance exercise than anything else.
Rest in Peace (Annick Vroom – Netherlands/UK)
This one is about a group of people who work out their differences after they attend the funeral of a family member. The whole thing has an enjoyably wacky deftness to it.
A Village Trilogy (Laura Taylor – Canada)
This 22 minute short is in three parts. The first part is a woman dancing among a ruined building. The second part has two men dancing in a forest and the third part is a group in a village dancing. The time period seems to be around World War II and the dancers appear to be either Jewish or gypsies. The film is well choreographed and features great Schubert piano pieces.
Cornered (Michael Downing – Canada)
One of the better pieces on the DVD this film deals with a woman who dances and moves around the corner of a white room. The film plays with perspective a lot so it is difficult to figure out up from down.
Contrecoup (Pascal Magnin – Switzerland)
Perhaps the only short that tries to approximate a story this 23 minute film is a self expressive drama about a man a woman their domestic squabble with dream sequences thrown in.
The look of is different for each film. The two best looking are Reines d'un Jour and Contrecoup both are in color, presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio and have a glossy look to them. Measure has a 1.33:1 ratio and is a bit grainy but looks fine, Rest in Peace also in 1.33:1 looks good although the interior shots are a bit dark. A Village Trilogy and Cornered are both shot in black and white and both appear to be shot in 16mm.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital and sounds good. There is mostly music with scant dialogue throughout the pieces all of which sounds good if unexceptional.
There are no extras.
Dance for Camera showcases the talent and skill that are going on today in the genre we could call 'experimental dance films'. Each of the films are short, lively, spirited stories that feature fine choreography. The DVD doesn't have much to offer; the transfers are okay and there are no extras on the disc. Still,the films should be seen by anyone interested in contemporary dance coupled with out-of-the-ordinary film narratives. If you only have a passing interest in contemporary dance then you may only want to consider renting the DVD.