MOMENTUM Film Critique

The film MOMENTUM boldly describes a man’s connection to movement in an astounding way. Boris Seewald, the director, manages to introduce the principal character, Patrick, without giving away the real secret behind his personality. I was very intrigued from the beginning as to what Patrick wanted to share with the audience, and I felt confused about why the location of an empty house would be the ideal environment for this story-telling. However, his colloquial dialogue and mannerisms gave me the impression that the setting would not matter; he is going to tell an interesting story, nonetheless. As well, the addition of the mother character is brilliant for a half-way twist and keeps the audience engaged as they watch her dance moves and listen to his words.

While Patrick talks to a person who is off-screen, the audience is treated to a very calm opening sequence with no extra sound but Patrick’s cheeky voice. He begins his silly story by talking about nacho chips as being the thing that initiates his urge to dance, and slowly we see that he cannot describe the story unless he moves around. He gets to be at a loss for words, so he starts moving in a frantic manner. Then, he explains that anyone has the tendency to move when the urge comes around and his mom, who sports two elegant outfits, is also included in the dance party. Together, they spin, punch and smile their way around the abandoned house as a music track picks up and leaves are thrown. With the music at a rapid tempo, the two shakers seem to be dancing like no one is watching, and projections are displayed behind them. Patrick finishes by declaring that his inspiration comes from nowhere but a tortilla chip.

The whole film has a nice crescendo to it in that it starts with a quiet conversation with Patrick. The audience is able to hear him on a personal level, and then get transported to his world of movement and drumming. I think it is well-structured in that sense. The message also resonated with me not only as a dancer but as a human because I understand the concept of finding rhythm in any conceivable way. It comes from inside of our bodies, and the story of Patrick’s nacho adventure is very relatable to his audience. As well, I like the use of leaves and in some ways, the leaves are also a character. When they are tossed up, it shows a clear example of momentum and randomness, similar to Patrick and his mother’s moves.

In terms of what I did not like, I am confused about why it is shot in what seems to be an empty house. It feels too bland and does not make sense as to why Patrick would be telling this story in this location. The characters are blocked off from the rest of the world by being in a closed setting. In my opinion, it should have been shot outside in a park where we could see other people walking by or stopping to join the dance party. Also, due to the fact that his story is about a high school dance, I feel as though the music that is played in the background is too intense and probably would not be the song playing at the disco. A better choice would be a pop song that could bring life to his story a bit better, instead of using drumming noise that reminds me too much of tribal dancing.

To conclude, I am amazed at how a simple story can be so captivating and why the director chose such a unique inspiration within a nacho chip to make a film. As well, I think the actors were so committed to the outburst of dancing and held nothing back, which made the message very clear: movement can come from anywhere. Although the location and music did not quite match the film’s charming personality, in my opinion, I think the film did a wonderful  job of starting off slow and building up to a climatic and exciting ending.

Tessa and Scott (Free Dance at Grand Prix 2017)

I cannot begin to explain my love for this performance. But I will…

First of all, the use of Moulin Rouge’s daring and seductive score inhabits so much of their journey together. The raw energy of their hard work and passion oozes out of the music and gathers everything so perfectly. They blast out of the gate with “Roxanne” to introduce themselves as fierce competitors, showing not only their ballroom background, but the control in their timing. Then they switch so effortlessly into one of my favourite pieces of art, the song “Come What May” and remind us that their chemistry is unique. No one can do it like them. No one has the partnership that they grew, and no one will compare. I am so unbelievably impressed by the connection and respect that they have for each other. I hope to one day exhibit that much trust on a stage.

Continuing on, since I don’t know much about the technical side of skating, I look to the ballet aspect that is displayed in their lines and extensions. Not only is the shape and structure in tune with the speed of their bodies, but they do it as a duet!! I have trouble just focusing on my own position; imagine adding the factor of a whole other person!!!! The way they come in and out of gorgeous positions has the quality that I only DREAM to portray. And of course, they have so much texture to the plié and extension that I, as an audience member, feel comfortable watching them defy gravity. It is so magical and visually pleasing.

Last point (except not really). We all see the focus they have. RIGHT FROM THE START. Tessa knows that she can be there present if she settles herself into her beginning pose in a calm way. Scott handles his masculinity and strength by being so peaceful and serene. (and can we just take a parentheses break to talk about his turnout… i’m sorry but how does THAT happen?) As individual athletes, their attention to “the zone” has me so amazed. Nothing could sway them. And no one wants to because when two people care so much about their art and the way they present it, WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU SCREW WITH THAT? They know that the only way to be successful in an artistic industry is to focus on the now. What is going on now. Where they are, what they can do with their mind, and how it will affect the audience.

I continually find myself crying after their programs, even during ones that are joyous. This comes from my excitement of being able to watch such a creative duo. It is truly one of a kind and deserves all the recognition in the world. Tessa, Scott, bravo on so many levels. I support all that you do. Please don’t go away. EVER.