Wednesday, February 18, 2009

automatic writing | Shirely Clarke : Dance in the sun

The day I saw Shirely Clark : dance in the sun was about 3 months ago. The first impression about her experimental film would be a little bit surprised that it seems to me she is more into to cooperate with sound. The focus and tracking of the main character(the dancer) was transferred in different scenes like desert, or beach and the studio with pianist playing. It reminded me the study in choreography of camera by Maya Deren. But Maya’s composition and transit of scene to scene were more precise and carefully. 

I realized, in the age of only black and white film, people are very good in using the contrast and tone in recording the texture or feeling of any object they shoot. It’s also very astonished that when those objects were arranged and used their shape to become something has potential meaning, the black and white texture just did the work so well. Sort of finding the material and realistic on the surface, but underneath, there are movements and rhythm that brought the audience to romantic state.

The keen piano broke my brain in the very beginning, and it actually became a very important part in this film too. Sort of give you a complete edge of this dancer’s movement and his mood to dance. Everything happened so fast, I felt I was pull into this film and my eyes had to fallow. The man saw a shell in the beginning and started to imagine he is running on the sand. So far the film gave us pretty much clues about what the man was thinking, and with the help of “the man picked up the shell on piano” and “his gesture of watching toward in the distance (to the sun, or desert, we don’t know) “. I can sense the environment by jumping back and forth between two scenes very easily.

I saw one shot that the light came from the left side so on the right side wall we can see a complete shadow, he danced with this shadow on the stage for a while. I thought it’s a very interesting shot, and this is one of the very few shots that both the camera seems like audience watching from down stage. So I assumed that it meant to be a couples dance scene. At the next scene, dancer showed up again in the desert, but his figure came black like a silhouette, and his pants were in white. In the background, skyline cut this dancer’s figure horizontally just on his waist. This is very beautiful arranged, maybe the most impressive scene I found in this film. Maybe for Shirely Clarke, who was a dancer, this coherence dancing in different spaces can be understood easily since she was always a dancer.

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