Monday, October 3, 2011

MFF Film #24 - A Good Man

USA, 2011
Director: Bob Hercules, Gordon Quinn

A Good Man documents the conception of and rehearsals for legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones' new piece about Abraham Lincoln's legacy, which premiered at the Ravinia in Chicago.  The contemporary dance piece is ambitious enough, but Jones' uncertainty over his true feelings about the subject, particularly after exhaustive research, leaves him uncertain about what direction he wants the piece to take.

Bill T. Jones is a fascinating person, and though I am not the biggest fan of modern dance, nor pretend to understand most of it, A Good Man was incredibly interesting.  Jones is incredibly accomplished, driven, a true intellectual and a strict perfectionist, which, rather than alienate the dancers in his company, commands the respect of his dancers and inspires them to strive for more.  Regardless of one's appreciation level for modern dance, it is impossible to not be impressed by the dancers' fluidity, talent and sheer athleticism.  Because Jones was still conceptualizing the piece as rehearsals continued, they were required to be extremely adaptable and improvisational, which is one of Jones' own strong points.

A Good Man is not a biography of Bill T. Jones, in fact, the bits and pieces we learn about him are really only revealed because of their relevance to the work he is currently producing.  Rather, it is a front row look at the creative process and motivations behind an art form that is normally very subjective in its interpretation.  Though "A Good Man" is the term for Lincoln that Jones grapples with, it is undoubtedly an appropriate term for Jones as well.  Produced by Kartemquin Films, which releases amazing documentaries, A Good Man is a superb film that deserves its spot in their pantheon.

MFF Ballot Rating: 4 out of 5

1 comment:

Kartemquin said...

Love your review, thanks!

One note though: Joanna Rudnick is the Producer of the film, and the directors were actually Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn.

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