Walk Run Cha-Cha

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Walk, Run Cha-Cha
"Even in a more formal, straight-to-camera setting, Nix lets their words play out over footage of them before or after interviews, so that we can see their more natural interactions with their elderly parents or one another."

Laura Nix's last full-length documentary, Inventing Tomorrow, focused on the hopefulness offered by young scientists and in her latest short she shows how a positive attitude can last a lifetime.

If you passed Asian-Americans Paul and Millie Cao on the streets of Los Angeles where they now live, you probably wouldn't think twice - but when you see them practising their cha-cha moves on the dancefloor at the start of this documentary, you can see how, when dancing together, they could easily turn heads. They might be cheerfully in middle age, but they show grace and poise aren't just the commodities of the young. The couple are very dedicated to dance, practising for three hours, four nights a week, with Paul saying it offers him "another level of freedom".

Paul and Millie both fled Vietnam - he in the Seventies and she a few years later - and details of this, their family and their lives since emerge through the course of this film, which has deservedly made it to the Oscar short-list. Instead of simply presenting information via interview, Nix allows details to emerge mainly through a discussion at what seems to be a dinner of family and friends, a conversation that also includes some snatches of their favourite songs.

Even in a more formal, straight-to-camera setting, Nix lets their words play out over footage of them before or after interviews, so that we can see their more natural interactions with their elderly parents or one another. Although being a migrant is part of their story - and one that had a big impact on their relationship - Nix shows they, and many others including their eastern European instructors, are not defined by that. As they take to the dance floor in full Strictly-style costume in the final few minutes of the film, you'd be well advised to have a box of tissues on stand-by.

Reviewed on: 13 Jan 2020
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A couple who fled Vietnam after the war talk about resuming their relationship in the US and their love of dance.

Director: Laura Nix

Writer: Laura Nix

Starring: Chipaul Cao, Millie Cao, Maksym Kapitanchuk, Elena Krifuks, Chipaul Cao, Millie Cao, Maksym Kapitanchuk, Elena Krifuks

Year: 2019

Runtime: 20 minutes

Country: US

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