HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
Chess of the Wind
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Scream
All I Can Say
You Are Not My Mother
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ailey His Interpretation
Year: 2021
Director: Jamila Wignot
Stars: Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Bill T. Jones, Samuel Lee Roberts, George Faison, Don Martin, Carmen de la Lavallade
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alvin Ailey was a dancer who revolutionised the interpretive form by using it to give a voice to the black American experience as he had lived through himself. But the man was intensely private and would mainly talk about his work in interviews, so when he died in 1989 many accepted the diagnosis that he had succumbed to a blood disease. Yet the reality was that Ailey was gay, and it was AIDS that had ended his life as it did to many thousands of gay men in the nineteen-eighties. Now this is widely known, does it overshadow his essential efforts in the world of dance? Not if his adherents have anything to do with it as they prepare a new show in tribute named Lazarus, every performer in it aware of its importance...

Here was a deceptively conventional, biographical documentary about a highly unconventional man, which at too many points raised more questions than it answered since its subject was no longer around to respond. Nevertheless, director Jamila Wignot had found a collection of private interviews he gave to friends which filled in a few of the gaps in his psyche, ranging from his homosexuality to his race to his mental health issues, all of which were sadly linked in his tortured mind. Yet if he had not been in possession of such inner turmoil, the film posits, he would not have been the creative force that he turned out to be. However, there remained matters not explored that it would have been fascinating to gain his perspective on that was just not possible now.

This more or less starts with his early childhood in Texas, where he was dirt poor and lived with his beloved mother, his father being absent, then moves to Los Angeles where he demonstrates his athleticism in school, but also wishes to apply that to dance, not sport, something he was reluctant to admit to almost everyone. You can perceive that turmoil from this account of his beginnings, but also how inspired he was by seeing other black dancers on the stage, and the very twenty-first century need to be represented proves to have been around in the previous century, and probably before that too. This led Ailey to create his own shows based around that representation, but there are rumblings that not everyone was fully supportive of them in his own community, never mind the racists his company had to contend with.

Why? In an avenue frustratingly unexplored, we understand it is because, apparently, Ailey's shows were too good: the white establishment would think, well, we've done that now, given the black folks their space to have their say, we'll just continue as before. Such is the curse of any minority art or entertainment that breaks through into mainstream success (and the Ailey troupe danced for millions of people), the novelty wears off and it seems the problems they addressed return until the next generation tries and fails to eradicate them. The illusion of progress, as they say, and that applied to Ailey's gender as much as his race, but then again, we see interviewee after interviewee who have obviously had equally fascinating lives, and though they are talking about their friend and mentor (not necessarily the same thing) we can tell they will have a wealth of stories of their own. One hoped, whatever your thoughts on modern dance, seeing the many clips of Ailey's choreography would allow the viewer to appreciate why he was a genius, and that's not always easy with this medium, but more than that, appreciate his troubled soul and mourn for him, if only a little - it was undeniably moving by the close.

[AILEY - released in cinemas and on demand 7th January 2022.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 447 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: