While the sense of it, at least for me, remains unclear, with its stunning visuals and gorgeous opening, female acapella vocals, I thought it apropos to offer up for Mother’s Day viewing the short dance film Adelaars (Eagles). I first saw this film two years ago at Dance Camera West and although it is much more powerful on the big screen, it is still eminently worthwhile viewed on a smaller scale.
Opening in silence and against a black background, a naked woman moves her upper body and arms in and out of frame. The movement is lush and sensual, the lighting and overall impression is beautifully mysterious, and soon the imagery is joined by rich (Hungarian?) acapella vocals. This auspicious opening soon gives way to the same woman, now adorned with feathers around her waste and hair, suddenly and seemingly much to her own surprise as well, appearing in a great, elegantly tiled, empty swimming pool site. Here she turns, again seemingly in some degree of wonder, to watch a screen situated within the empty pool, wherein we see two amorphous figures moving inside of black cloth against a blue sky with rolling white clouds.
In short order the two figures, apparently on stilts or seated on great ladders (as they are preternaturally tall even doubled over themselves) with their naked upper bodies also now revealed, begin a series of ritualistic and abstracted movements. Its difficult to tell at first whether what we see here is set against some great desert or plane, or just seated on a brown wall, but regardless the scale of the imagery in tandem with the women’s strong supple backs, the blue sky, white clouds, and the billowing black fabric of their costumes make for stunning and startling visuals. Soon, the single feathered woman in the pool is drawn into this imagery and called to join in with the movement of what soon becomes three women, now accompanied by a driving and rhythmic, jazzy instrumental score, just as the viewer is soon also allowed out of the swimming pool and onto the full outdoor site.
According to the notes in advance of Adelaars, this Slovakian short’s “choreography was inspired by Mongolian ritual dance, symbolizing birth and flight of the eagle, which represents a metaphor of life, liberty, detachment, and strength.” While I don’t know enough about mythic, Mongolian, culture to understand the subtext, the color, movement, score, and sheer beauty of the imagery are completely stunning. Directed by Andrea Sudorova, with choreography by Jan Sevcik, and dance by Sara Danielova, Maja Miklovicova, and Adrian Pinkova, I honor both this film and its intent to “pay tribute to women as a whole, especially to the woman as mother, which gives life, protects and fills it with her love, to her strength, humility and to all she has to sacrifice.”
Happy Mother’s Day all and enjoy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder/Director of Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival, Sarah Elgart is a Los Angeles based choreographer and director working under the auspice of Sarah Elgart | Arrogant Elbow. Sarah creates original content for stage, screen, and site-specific venues. Her stage and site-works have been performed at alternative spaces including LAX Airport, The Skirball Center, Mark Taper Forum, Van Nuys Flyaway, The Bradbury Building, Jacob’s Pillow, INSITU Site-Specific Festival NY, and Loft Seven, where she created a rooftop work lit entirely by a hovering helicopter accompanied by Nels Cline (Wilco). Her work has been produced by venues including The Music Center, MASS MoCA, Dance Place, Los Angeles Theater Center, Mark Taper Forum and The International Women’s Theater Festival. In film Sarah has worked with noted directors including JJ Abrams, David Lynch, Catherine Hardwicke, and Anton Corbijn. Her own films include award-winning music videos, dance shorts, and an Emmy nominated PSA, and continue to be accepted into festivals internationally. In addition to teaching dance and film, Sarah writes a regular column, ScreenDance Diaries that focuses on the intersections of both genres internationally for online magazine Cultural Weekly. Sarah’s work has received support from organizations that include the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, California Arts Council and more. She is an alumna of the Sundance Institute’s Dance Film Lab, a Fellow of AFI’s Directing Women’s Workshop, and a director member of the DGA.