Canada | 60 MINUTES
For more than two decades, renowned Canadian choreographer Édouard Lock has created ballets that, in the words of La Repubblica, "call upon the traditional ballerina's rigorous points, but insert them in a force field that is violently anti-ballet." He has understandably shaken up the dance world with his predilection for discord, expanding ballet from an exercise in form and fluidity to one of chaos and unpredictability. Amelia may be the pinnacle of Lock's style, a work that is as aesthetically stark as it is physically audacious. Yet the greatest achievement of Lock's film adaptation is that, perhaps without precedent, he has created a ballet that seems fully realized on the screen rather than on the stage. Lock's already cinematic tone (complemented by David Lang's music and Lou Reed's lyrics) carries over and is brought into brilliant focus by Lock's own editing and by cinematographer André Turpin, whose quick cuts, shocking contrasts, and 360 degrees of perspective set the La La La Human Steps dancers in a space much larger than the wooden room in which they dance. Every spin is a flash of light, every arbitrary switch of dancers a gasp, and every close-up a study in shape and musculature. The constant juxtapositions do not conjure comparisons to classical ballet as much as to the electro-organic aesthetic that has carved out a niche in music, movies, and more of popular culture. This is dance for the digital age: precise, frenetic, and breathtaking in its quest for perfection.