I recently had the pleasure of curating a series of dance films for Grand Park’s “Our LA Voices.” Mining the landscape of dancers and choreographers within my Los Angeles community, I reached out to Chris Bordenave of No)one Arthouse for any films he might have, and he directed me to The Movement.
Created in collaboration with the launch of a new LA-based art journal celebrating women of color, Tonal Journal, The Movement was directed and shot by August Thurmer, with Creative Direction by Lauren Machen, choreography by Bordenave, and is brilliantly based on the game Exquisite Corpse. For those of you who recall the game, participants play by taking turns drawing sections of a body on a sheet of paper, with each section folded to hide the previous contribution. The first player adds a head—then, without knowing what that head looks like the next player adds a torso, and so on. As a result, the strange, somewhat distorted image of a person is constructed.
According to the liner notes, the film “presents a sensory exploration of the beauty, struggle and strength shared amongst women of color. The resulting imagery both amplifies the individual differences (her truths) and unites the women as one whole. We are stronger together.” This seems like a perfect appropriation of the game into the genre of screen dance, and it is amplified by beautiful choreography featuring dance by Gigi Todisco, Karen McDonald, Madeline Leavitt, Micalea Taylor and Shauna Davis. The gorgeous score is “Redemption” by serpentwithfeet. I love both the use of dancers of varying ages and how the dancers themselves look straight into camera at the end as if to say “we are not acting here, this is our truth.”
The Movement is a clean, clever, and beautifully rendered exemplification of all that it seeks to represent.