Comment on Movie review: Dance documentary 'Cunningham' is a cinematic work of art

Movie review: Dance documentary 'Cunningham' is a cinematic work of art

By Brandy McDonnellA version of this review appears in Friday's Weekend Life section of The Oklahoman. 3 1/2 of 4 stars.Movie review: Dance documentary 'Cunningham' is a cinematic work of artWhether they're showcasing singers or scientists, crooks or iconoclasts, most documentaries that delve into the life and legacy of a particular person follow a fairly strict formula: a birth-to-earth biographical rundown illustrated with archival footage and talking-head interviews.Fittingly and fortunately, Alla Kovgan boldly breaks free of this restrictive rubric, creating a true cinematic work of art with "Cunningham," a stunning chronicle of the groundbreaking genius of revolutionary American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, whose notions about movement, space and staging remain influential.The film focuses on the first 30 years of Cunningham's career - he continued to create until his death in 2009 at the age of 90 - touching on his collaborations with pioneering composer John Cage as well as visual artists Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, recalling the founding of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and its early shoestring tours in a VW microbus and recounting the troupe's 1964 world tour, during which the dancers dodged tomatoes and eggs in Paris but were triumphantly received London.The documentary's director, writer and editor, Kovgan presents her intriguing Cunningham introduction as a sort of collage of archival footage and interviews, voiceovers, letters and sketches.Read more on


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