COVID cancelled our Dance Film Festival last year, but I'm gratified that new dance films are still being released in these uncertain times. On-screen this week we present AILEY, and on September 17th IN BALANCHINE'S CLASSROOM. AILEY is directed by Peabody, Emmy and NAACP award-winning filmmaker Jamila Wignot. The following is her statement about her film:
"Nothing prepares you for the experience of Ailey - the emotional, spiritual, aural, and visual overwhelm the senses. As a filmmaker I am drawn to stories about artists like Alvin Ailey - innovators who tenaciously follow their own voice and in doing redefined their chosen forms. Ailey's dances - celebrations of American beauty and history - did more than move bodies; they opened minds. His dances were revolutionary social statements that staked a claim as powerful in his own time as in ours: Black life is central to the American story and deserves a central place in American art and on the world stage. A working-class, gay, Black man, he rose to prominence in a society that made every effort to exclude him. He transformed the world of dance and made space for those of us on the margins."
Sharing the screen with AILEY this week is FINAL SET, an excellent sports drama from France co-starring Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas. Actor Alex Lutz portrays her son Thomas, a tennis prodigy who never had the career in the game that he hoped for. And now, at 37 he decides to return to the French Open in spite of his declining physical fitness. "Everything about FINAL SET feels like the real deal." -The Mercury News