I know… it’s been a minute. I’ve been busy presenting my own work – the live work that is – on the East Coast for the past month and change, at two festivals, INSITU and Jacob’s Pillow. Immense thanks to anyone who has donated (and even those who are still considering making a donation)! Right now I’m very happy to be able to once again take time to write about and share with you all the best dance films I can find on the planet.
I first saw Werewolf Heart this year at Dance Camera West and was blown away. Directed by Christian Weber, an internationally known award winning photographer and filmmaker whose work is recognized for challenging conventional notions of what is beautiful, this short film delivers in its simplicity, its fierce editing, its strange beauty, and so much more.
A stretch of blacktop through a barren desert landscape, a long limbed dancer in a red dress with her skin painted black, and music by the underrated band Dead Man’s Bones – fronted by the stellar actor Ryan Gosling – make up part of the recipe for this powerful dance short. It’s the very sparseness of these choices that in a large part make for the film’s success.
The dancer, Mexican choreographer Dalel Bacre who, as per her own bio “uses body movements and interpretations through scenic performances to push the boundaries of contemporary art”, employs visceral movement that suggests she is at once running to, and running from someone or something… Her movement is both fluid and twisted with a strong sense of urgency, and her entire presentation is so striking particularly as seen against the seeming infinity of sand and highway. She appears on screen as if blown in by the wind and proceeds to dance, run, crawl, and at times almost playfully tip toe down the road, sometimes towards and sometimes away from camera. The editing is stunning, particularly at the end, breaking up what are seen initially as a series of wide shots and then building to a crescendo of anticipation with close ups of arms or feet, although thankfully there is no apparent linear narrative whatsoever.
One of the mantras I live and create work by is that “less is more”. In Werewolf Heart that’s definitely the case. It takes vision and fearlessness to deliver such a powerful punch and such a visual feast with such a spare palette.