The iconic Merce Cunningham and the last generation of his dance company is stunningly profiled in Alla Kovgan's 3D documentary, through recreations of his landmark works and archival footage of Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Even for those who know little about dance, Merce Cunningham is a recognizable name - an iconic figure in his field. His mid-20th century collaborations with composer John Cage (his lifelong partner) and visual artist Robert Rauschenberg were central to an era of transformation. Cunningham resisted "avant-garde" or any other label. "I don't describe it. I do it," he once said. Now, with Cunningham, we have a chance to experience what he did. Filmmaker Alla Kovgan assembles the last generation of Cunningham dancers (led by Merce Cunningham Dance Company assistant director of choreography Jennifer Goggans) to present landmark works from the Cunningham repertoire. The film concentrates on the three decades from 1942 to 1972 when Cunningham was making his reputation. Gorgeously shot in 3D, Cunningham brings us closer to these works than any audience has ever been before. Taking an inventive approach with locations, the film places dancers in evocative backdrops such as a tunnel, a ...Written by
Toronto International Film Festival
Explores the artistic development by legendary dancer Merce Cunningham
Cunningham is an immersive documentary about the early years and artistic development of legendary American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. The film is thought-provoking and artistically beautiful. Cunningham is a work of art in and of itself and a journey exploring the development of modern dance.
The film highlights Merce Cunningham's dancing from 1942 to 1972. Artistic innovation and expression is its central theme. Time and space play important roles in the movements between the dancers themselves and their interaction with various settings. The settings for the various dances are as important as any character in the film; I particularly enjoy the outdoor performances with their natural environment. The movie is available in 3D, but I previewed this film in 2D and found it quite moving.
Dance is a very visual experience and director/editor Alla Kovgan gives us a breathtaking story. I love the blending of archival footage and live action in the film, which is perfection and gives you a feeling for the time period. The choreographic collaboration by Jennifer Goggans and Robert Swinston for this documentary is on point and brings another critical element to this story. The music adds emotion and depth with original music for the film composed by renowned Volker Bertelmann.
The message of this film is about exploring self expression and collaboration with others. Merce Cunningham saw his dancers as individuals first and dancers second. He valued their opinions and collaborated with many other artists in various fields such as his long standing friend, composer John Cage and with the iconic Andy Warhol.
As a dancer, I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults and dance enthusiasts.
Reviewed ;by Selene W,, KIDS FIRST! reporter
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