Saturday, November 5, 2011

Honest Bill

Finding out quite late in the game about the 2nd Annual DOC NYC film festival, I was only able to get to one screening, but I chose well!
A Good Man--directed by Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn is a ravishing and bracing documentary about two years in the making of Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray, the Bill T. Jones masterwork and meditation on the life of Abraham Lincoln, his complexity and his possible significance for American democracy in the current age. As Jones prepares this commissioned piece for premiere at the Ravinia Festival, we're taken behind the scenes. We become privy to his thought processes, his doubts and his often volatile working relationships with dancers and creative collaborators. This is an unflinching, warts-and-all portrait of one of dance's true superstars and geniuses but also an extraordinarily generous portrait of the talented individuals who support his visions, even under heavy fire, and bring them to powerful life.

After watching A Good Man, I tried to figure out why dance isn't the most popular and most rewarded art form in the United States. Okay, maybe it's just me, but who wouldn't want to spend quality time in a theater with these gods and goddesses who are also, as we see all too clearly, real live human beings? That duality--reflected in Jones, as in the Lincoln he was taught to admire--comes across through the sensitive and handsome work of Hercules and Quinn and their Director of Photography, Keith Walker.

A Good Man looks and sounds fantastic on the big screen, but you can catch it on American Masters (PBS) on Friday, November 11 at 9pm ET/PT (check local listings).

DOC NYC runs through next Thursday, November 10, at the IFC Center and New York University, with a fascinating range of programming. Get complete schedule and ticketing information here.

1 comment:

carolyn said...

moving people democracy and dance
flawed and oh so perfect
grappling praying

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