Japanese Kodo drummers, American marching bands, English bell ringers, New Guinean percussionists and other international ensembles share the screen in this infectious survey of rhythmic expression, assembled by Stomp founders Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. The large-format film is a philosophical extension of the troupe's muscular stage performances, which remove dance from the rarified high-culture milieu that many people find off-putting, and instead brings in the noise and the funk. It showcases performers from all over the world and connects them, both through striking cross-cultural similarities in movement vocabulary and purely filmic juxtapositions, like a New York City subway train roaring through a station and a herd of buffalo thundering across an African plain. Equal time is allocated to physical virtuosity and non-verbal vocalization, and one of the film's highlights (which recalls the "Tradition" number from 1971's FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) uses editing to blend individuals performing everyday activities pounding grain, washing clothes into a dance-like celebration of purposeful movement. Another involves Stomp members performing underwater in diving suits, a conceit that's simultaneous bizarre and eerily beautiful. Whenever possible, performers are filmed outdoors, sometimes in magnificent natural settings like Nevada's desolate Red Rocks Canyon, other times on city rooftops, beyond whose edges densely built-up urban landscapes fan out into apparent infinity. In addition to those already mentioned, the featured performers include Spanish flamenco dancer Eva Yerbabuena; the Timbalada drum orchestra of Brazil; South Africa's Moremogolo Tswana Traditional Dancers; drummers who march side-by-side with more than a dozen gold-dusted elephants in an annual procession in Kerala, India; and the Qwii Music Arts' Trust Khoi San Music group, Kalahari Bushmen who combine sweetly melodic singing and simple synchronized steps. Though of particular interest to students and enthusiast of international dance and world music, the film is designed to make viewers of all ages, cultural backgrounds and rhythmic ability want to get up and dance.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: Japanese Kodo drummers, American marching bands, English bell ringers, New Guinean percussionists and other international ensembles share the screen in this infectious survey of rhythmic expression, assembled by Stomp founders Luke Cresswell and Steve McNi… (more)