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I found myself lost in Maze, the super cool short created by Choreographer Sophie Laplane and Director/Editor/ Cinematographer Eve McConnachie, while responding to a friend request on FB where I saw it posted and it immediately caught my eye.
Shot in a huge, striking, and empty “Glaswegian” swimming pool and beautifully performed by Madeline Squire and Javier Andreu, two stunning dancers from the Scottish Ballet, the location is used to maximum advantage in terms of the choreography, cinematography, and editing.
The movement is smart, quick, and quirky, if not particularly emotional, but then not everything has to be. And I actually love the fact that it isn’t and instead leaves behind the traditional sort of narrative innuendoes found in duets between a man and a woman. What is favored instead is a keen visual and visceral intelligence that is ultimately about the movement in the space and in the camera. The old swimming pool with its white, red, black and yellow tiled graphics, viewing seats, trim, and hugely high ceiling, is visually amazing and creates a wonderful sense of scale that is used beautifully by the director and choreographer. In fact it’s difficult to tell how much of the really great editing was planned ahead of time on location, and how much was found by the team in post.
The terseness of the movement has a kind of violent undertone to it at times, and topped off with the editing, location, and a wonderful electronic score by British born and Boston based musician John Xela, it almost reminds me of Clockwork Orange (okay, not that violent!). At six minutes,Maze runs just a little long for my eye, but is still eminently rewarding and beyond well worth viewing. And needless to say, after watching the film, I readily accepted the friend request.
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.