Life In Movement

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Bryan Mason
  • Cast:Tanja Liedtke , Sophie Hyde, Amelia McQueen, Lloyd Newson
  • Release Date:April 12, 2012
  • Distributor:Antidote Films
  • Running time:80 minutes
  • Film Worth:$17.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Deftly compiled and packed with revealing footage, this is a beautiful tribute to its subject, and also an eye-opening look into the emotional power of art.

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In 2007, acclaimed 29-year-old dancer and choreographer, Tanja Liedtke, was struck and killed by a truck in Sydney in the middle of the night. Adding to the tragedy was the fact that Liedtke had just been appointed Director of Sydney Dance Company, a truly incredible achievement for someone so young. Life In Movement follows Liedtke's still-grieving collaborators - including her partner, Sol Ulbrich - eighteen months after her death, as they embark on an international tour of her acclaimed productions, as a way to deal with their loss. As such, as well as offering up a beautiful tribute to this truly singular talent, this is also a stirring exploration of the role that art can play in helping us find a way forward.

In their debut feature documentary, Sophie Hyde and Bryan Mason (who were close friends of Liedtke) capture the tense backstage rehearsals and tragedy-tinged joys of life on tour, revealing the profound creative and personal void left behind by their subject's death. Interspersing this footage with candid interviews with her collaborators, Liedtke is presented in different, and sometimes fascinatingly contradictory, lights. Taking inspiration from Liedtke's innovative style, Hyde and Mason also masterfully juxtapose their material to reveal the way that the dancer's personal life - her demons, anxieties, and the enormous elation and pressure that she felt over her newly appointed position - so often found its way into her performances. 

The best part of the doco, however, is the truly intimate footage that Liedtke shot on her video camera and mobile phone as she developed and worked through ideas. Displaying a drama, playfulness, vulnerability and occasionally unsettling darkness, the footage is nothing short of a revelation, and provides a rare glimpse into the way that artists strip themselves bare in order to produce their best work. It's utterly compelling, as is this terrific documentary.

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