What to Stream This Weekend: Five Films That Dance

Each week, Richard Brody picks a modern film, a classic film, an independent film, a foreign film, and a documentary for online viewing.

Anna Biller (whose feature “The Love Witch,” from 2016, was on my list of the year’s best) is one of the most original modern filmmakers, both in method and in matter. Her comedic drama “Viva” (Amazon), from
2007—her first feature—is a phantasmagorically and brazenly erotic
period piece made on a low budget. (We’re all adults here—there’s lots
of nudity and scenes involving sex.) Set in Los Angeles, in 1972, and
expressly placed on the front lines of the sexual revolution, the film
borrows and exaggerates the swing-a-ding-ding styles that movies and
television reflected back onto private lives at the time—and it does so
through Biller’s own ecstatic, meticulous handiwork on the costumes and
the décor. Biller also stars as Barbie, a secretary who, in a milieu
inflamed by Playboy and its ethos, pursues a path of liberation that
includes a musical sequence in a nudist camp and a gothic-theatrical
orgy in which she, accompanied by a band of dancing and drumming
revellers, performs a seduction number that turns the frenzies of
musical intensity into a sexual trance. Lest anyone miss the point, the
movie concludes with a gleefully sung and danced—and costumed—homage to
“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

There’s plenty of great dancing in studio-era Hollywood, but the
cinematic master of dance is Busby Berkeley, whose career and creativity
were at their zenith in the nineteen-thirties and early forties but
whose genius reached a latter-day height in the musical “Small Town
Girl
” (YouTube, Vudu, and Google Play), from 1953. Forget the story
and the acting; they’re for the most part dull, even homogenized.
Berkeley didn’t direct the action, only the production numbers—and he
uncorks three that are unlike any of those from his first flourishing.
Two feature Bobby Van performing more or less solo…

Read the full article at the Original Source..

Back to Top