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.