Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Reviews: Borom sarret and Only When I Dance

I was disappointed not to be more impressed with Only When I Dance, a recent documentary about Brazilian teenagers aspiring for a spot in an elite ballet corps or an international academy. I have at least one friend who is partial enough to the film that I feel like a buzzkill. And contrary to what some readers might think, it's no fun to ruin a film's perfect Rotten Tomatoes record, even if, as a culture, we seriously need to get over our over-investment in that heuristic.

In any event, here's my full review of Only When I Dance, but I'm thrilled that I am able to chase it instantaneously with something else I wrote in the wee hours this weekend, in response to a real breath-catcher. If you don't know Ousmane Sembene's films, or you're feeling self-conscious at having never seen one and not knowing where to start, you could do a lot worse than his gorgeously controlled, wise, and economical short film Borom sarret. At 20 minutes, it's also perfectly sized for a break from heavy-duty manuscript work, which was also a plum recommendation for the 78-minute Only When I Dance. Both of them inspired a rush of words, but in Borom sarret's case, they're nothing but ecstatic praise. And in this case, I'm blazing a trail for a previously empty Rotten Tomatoes dossier. So, see the film, write it up, and give the Tomato-surfers more to chew on! Seriously, you have 20 minutes, and from where I'm sitting, you're unlikely to be sorry.

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Blogger tim r said...

I'm glad you weren't on the Academy's selection committee in Finzi's film. The kids wouldn't have stood a chance!

"You have insufficient depth of background and are hurdling lightly sketched socioeconomic obstacles — back to these so-called "favelas" with you both!"

As usual, you're quite right on all that. But I still think it's lovely and gracefully sketched, and hardly touts itself as Hoop Dreams. (I reckon Anvil, after a joyous second viewing, would probably dislodge it from my top ten if I was compiling that now, but not without a pang of guilt...)

2:37 AM, August 23, 2010  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

how about that. I didn't even know that short films had rotten tomatoes pages. now i'll have to consider writing reviews of the future ones i go gaga for.

1:48 PM, August 23, 2010  

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