Eye For Film >> Movies >> Dance With Me (2008) Film Review
Dance With Me
Reviewed by: Caro Ness
This is a film that made me want to scream with frustration, as the characters themselves scream internally, because the main parts are played with such conviction and brilliance that you feel you are part of the senseless and infuriating arguments that seem to go nowhere and litter the piece.
Filmed in an idyllic setting, it appears to be about Alice (Johanne Murdock), who is working with two highly talented dancers (Ismael Ludman, Guggi Zuzakova), and Neil (Adam Napier), who seems to be taking extended leave to recover from what might have been a breakdown. As the film unfolds, we realise that the intensely irritating and needy Neil, is not the only slightly deluded person around.
The location is exquisite. Indeed, it is not just a back drop, it has a formal integrity and a part to play in the action. The very English setting, with countless cups of tea on a bench overlooking an estuary, carries a universal and moving story about the mechanics of relationships
As the director says, “A relationship is, essentially, a dance between two people and can only work if both partners are willing to dance. Yet it is fascinating how difficult it can be to make a relationship work even when both sides are willing. Two good dancers can still fail to connect. The way we dance with one another says just about everything about our relationship and this does not apply only to the dance floor.”
The dance moves are a cross between contemporary and tango neuvo. They form an integral part of the plot, forcing the viewer to consider issues of personal space and true partnership. As Neil says, politeness can hold off a fight, but is this necessarily a good thing? Isn’t honesty better? And can we really talk of true love without physicality, without touch? If the way people dance reflects their roles and behaviour patterns in a relationship, can dance then influence the way we communicate, the way we love, the way we respond to one another?
The dancing and the acting are very fine, ably supported by Jane Stanton, as Lizzie. This is a thought provoking film that teases one’s perception of behaviour with frustrating persistence. It was clearly shot on a shoestring, with minimum set changes and a strong emphasis on dialogue, or lack of it, supported and enhanced by exceptional cinematography, as the camera sweeps across the landscape with a loving brush and softens the sharp, angular edges of the dancers with deliberation. It is a film that refuses to let itself be overlooked.
Bravo Sasha Dmjanovski and your dedicated cast and crew. You have conjured a gem from nowhere!Reviewed on: 23 Apr 2010