REEL MOTION: Dance Film Double Feature

Apr 08, 2019

David Roussève's movies are meditations on personal and interpersonal truths

Welcome to Reel Motion, a series of blog posts that examine the Northrop Film Series selections. Find out more about the screening of Bittersweet and Two Seconds After Laughter on Wed, Apr 10 at 6:30 pm ahead of David Roussève/REALITY's performance at Northrop on Sat, Apr 13.

Drawing on his childhood growing up surrounded by strong women, David Roussève weaves the echoes of his childhood observations about those women into an inspired fictional narrative of Bittersweet. Bittersweet was Roussève's first solo foray into directing for film. His use of close-ups is both experimental and at the same time, expertly deployed. Hauntingly scored by Nina Simone, Bittersweet is 15 minutes of poetically feeling the mysterious internal moments in the lives of three women of color in 1940s America. In this, Roussève creates a joyous and tragic intersection of dance, gesture, and dialogue on the human condition.

And although Roussève maintains his second work for film, Two Seconds After Laughter, is not a documentary, it has been programmed in that category in some of the 45 film festivals in 11 countries where it has been screened. A dreamlike quality pervades the film in which choreographer Sri Susilowati’s reflects on her life after she returns to her family home in Java after 20 years of living in America. Using a visual and choreographic vocabulary that blends traditional Indonesian dance with western post-modern gestures, these elements influence the cinematographic language of the film.

For this final entry in the 2018-19 Dance Film Series we will have David Roussève himself at the screenings Wed, Apr 10 to discuss the films. This is the first time the Dance Film Series will feature the director (and choreographer as well), and I hope you'll come see these two jewels of dance on film.

Shayna Houp is Northrop's Artist Services Manager and curates the Film Series each season.

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