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2012/07/15

StreetDance

By Jenny Bootle

Sometimes a film is utterly formulaic and predictable and yet it still it manages to surprise you. 


I watched the StreetDance trailer a few hours ago and got so over-excited that I ended up watching the film all over again. Such is the power of two different worlds of dance coming together…

When Carly’s boyfriend, Jay, the leader of her street dance crew, announces he's taking some time out, she decides to get them ready for the national Street Dance Championships herself. But with no money for rehearsal space, they’re left at a loose end. Chance encounter sees Carly deliver a sandwich to Helena (Charlotte Rampling), the director of a top-class ballet school who feels her students have lost their passion. Helena is impressed by Carly and offers her crew unlimited use of the studio, but on the condition that they include her ballet dancers in their routine.

Carly and Helena, before they exchange the all-important sandwich
Conflict ensues between the two disparate groups but perhaps they have more in common than they think. Will Jay come back? Will Carly and classical dancer, Tomas, ever see eye to eye? And who can predict what will happen at the Street Dance Championships? (Obviously, all of us, but don’t let that put you off.)

StreetDance (2010) was the first British film to be shot in 3-D. I’ve only ever seen the small-screen 2-D version but it didn’t need any extra dimensions or razzmatazz to make me fall in love with its high-energy dance sequences and charming underdog story. 

Moves!
It’s a testament to the filmmakers that they didn't get carried away with their brave new technology and that other elements of the film remain as strong as they do. Admittedly, you can see that a couple of the scenes - in particular, a food fight in the cafeteria - have been deliberately included for their 3-D impact, but who doesn't love a food fight? Screenwriter, Jane English, sets the perfect tone (British audiences may know her work on excellent TV teen-dramas Sugar Rush and As If) and UK viewers will also recognise winning acts from Britain’s Got Talent, including George Sampson, Flawless and Diversity.

The lovely Nichola Burley plays Carly. I seem to be at a stage in my life where, rather boringly, I scrutinise lead female characters and question whether I would be happy for my young nieces to take them on as role models. Carly is a definite tick in this box - she doubts herself and makes mistakes but she’s got determination and works hard to try to lead her team to achieve their dream. And pleasingly, although Carly's story involves romantic entanglements, her love interests aren’t the drive behind her journey.

Not everything in the film is perfect. It’s never quite clear why Helena is ordering lunch from Carly’s shop (do ballerinas eat baguettes?) and I had to stifle a chuckle at the huge bare-brick loft apartments that struggling sandwich-maker Carly and some of the other characters live in (“college fees don’t leave much left over for fancy apartments…” Oh f**k off. It’s amazing.) But really this is all part of a grand tradition of cheesy dance films and just adds to the charm.

Carly and the lovely Tomas exchange words. But will she go back to Jay? 
Although I have no coordination and can barely manage to clap in time, StreetDance took me off to an exciting world of dancing; it was pure enjoyment. And that's why so many films are formulaic – because when the formula actually works, it’s fantastic. Sometimes a film’s parts all slot against each other, like the tiny cogs in a wristwatch, and perfectly align; so that when they do, you get something that is like StreetDance: joyful, fun and thoroughly life-affirming.

For more information, visit StreetDance's official IMDB page: www.imdb.com/title/tt1447972 

1 comment:

  1. I really love this movie. I've watched it many times but none of the times I never bored. I'm really excited about this one.

    ReplyDelete