Tag Archives: dance movies


Lucie (Sabrina Ouazani) is on a very weird path. First, she’s in a coma. Well, first she’s in an accident, then she’s in a coma, and then she wakes up, pretty much completely fine, other than a memory (vision?) of a mysterious man by her bedside. Could it be her long lost father? Lucie’s mom insists no, but Lucie’s gut is saying yes, so she combines her need to get right back into training for an upcoming dance competition with a desperate search for a father she’s never known.

It leads her to Max’s bar/seedy motel, Max (Hassam Ghancy) being the prime suspect. Turns out Max is a reformed criminal who helps newly released prisoners get back on their feet. Which explains what makes barkeep Vincent (Kevin Mischel) such an irresistible bad boy – that ankle bracelet really does something for the ladies. Also, in an incredible coincidence, Vincent is a dancer who “doesn’t dance anymore” yet is continually caught dancing. Or what the French call dancing, which actually seems a little painful and spastic. A dark secret (besides the one that landed him in jail) is hinted at.

But Lucie already has a partner! A dance partner/boyfriend, one who is quickly losing patience with her quest to find herself through “dancing” with dangerous, handsome men.

Sabrina Ouazani is quite compelling to watch, and the film stumbles upon an occasional spark or two, but mostly it’s uncomfortably corny and left me rolling my eyes way more often than must be good for my health.

Director Marc Fouchard struggles to establish any tension between Lucie and her maybe-daddy, and fails to find chemistry between his two leads, which makes for a pretty lackluster movie that really didn’t hold my interest.

Born To Dance

The ImagineNative Film Festival celebrates Canadian and international Indigenous filmmakers and artistic expressions. Tammy Davis is the film maker in question today. Of Maori descent, he identifies with Ngati Rangi and Atihaunui a Paparangi. The Maoris are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. They have a rich mythology, a knack for horticulture, a strong sense of warrior culture, and yes, a generous history with the performing arts.

Fitting then that Davis makes his feature-length directorial debut with Born 12620_00_wide_key_jpgTo Dance. The premise of Born To Dance is an overfamiliar coming of age tale. Tu is a young man born to dance. His disapproving father forbids it. Tu is perhaps a couple of years older than we’re used to in this role because instead of being threatened with military school, he’s threatened with the military, full stop. If Tu doesn’t get his act together during the summer post-high school graduation, the army awaits him. It occurs to me as I write this that Born To Dance might be Queen of Katwe in disguise, only replace the chess with hip hop, and the slums of Uganda for low-income housing in Auckland.

Where Born To Dance distinguishes itself, much like Queen of Katwe, is with its culture and setting. Tu is notably from the “wrong side of the tracks”, whether or not there are actual tracks in southern Auckland. Tu is played by first-time actor\championship dancer Tia-Taharoa Maipi, himself a young Maori man who danced his way out of a small town not unlike the character arc we see in the film. He helps give the film a flavour of authenticity. Compared to a well-off rival dance crew from the North Shore, Tu explains that “Dance is what they do; dance is who we are.”

In the expected dance-off at the end, where the two rival crews inevitably face 1233100_born-to-danceoff, director Davis gives the performers time and space to really show off their talent. This is a dance movie after all, and the moves are there to prove it. Choreographed by the legendary Parris Goebel, Born To Dance is the real deal. The movie’s smaller budget means there aren’t a lot of wires or camera tricks at play, just real dancers doing their thing. P-Money provides a stellar soundtrack with tracks that embody kiwi culture.

Like most of you, I’m familiar with New Zealand film because of Taika Waititi’s insane comedies, and the fringey-funny horrors the country is known for. Born to Dance presents another side of what New Zealand has to offer, and I’d like to see more like it, only next time without the insufferably clichéd bits. Just sayin.



This post first appeared at Cinema Axis.