Towards Mathilde

84 min. In French w/English subtitles. Claire Denis, dist. by Grasshopper Film, www.grasshopperfilm.com. 2018. DVD $99.95; acad. libs. $375. Public performance. DANCE
This documentary by Denis (Beau Travail; Let the Sunshine In) focuses on French-born Mathilde Monnier (b. 1959), head of the Montpellier National Centre for Choreography as she prepares a group of dancers to perform a variety of pieces. Most of the footage was originally recorded on 8mm and 16mm film, which gives the production a grainy look. The attempt is to show the process and struggle of creating the dances, but by the end viewers are no closer to knowing or understanding them. The dialog and narration are overly cerebral and add little to the audience's comprehension. The snippets of actual dance don't provide a very strong picture of the whole work. Just when something might begin to look interesting, it's cut off; this reviewer failed to understand Monnier's nitpicking with the slightest movement change. A bonus extra with a full performance would have been immensely helpful.
VERDICT Not recommended except for the most inclusive dance video collections.
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