I have been slightly nervous for my next post due to all these new followers (hi guys!) and I have also just moved to a new country for one whole year, which means for the past few weeks I have had mild, but constant feelings of harassment in addition to harried administrational errands, box-packing-and-carrying and language learning. So for the sake of fun and simplicity, I’m going to write about a certain feature length dance film/music video that will never cease to make me grin stupidly.
I first came across Girl Walk // All Day when my Film Buff Friend sent me the link to the first chapter of the film and when I watched it, I squealed with joy (something I like to think I don’t do too often.) Directed by Jacob Krupnick, the whole film is set to an album called ‘All Day’ by a musician (mash up artist?) called ‘Girl Talk’. I have always enjoyed Girl Talk and despite some of my Too Hip friends disliking his music, it always managed to make most of us dance, which I think is the point. When I started watching, the film was released in five minute installments, twice a week. We basically follow three main characters (The Girl, The Gentleman and The Creep) around New York City, and they dance. The loose narrative is pleasant but not the point and there is a joyous and genuine quality to the whole film, with a fair amount of cheesiness, but it is the best sort of cheese you could ask for.
The project began as a Kickstarter campaign and was filmed in 2011. If you look at the Girl Walk // All Day website, you might notice a sense of community, contribution and getting involved in the project, hosting screenings and what not – which has made me all the more endeared to such a work. I was lucky enough to catch a screening in New York city last year (which was brilliant since the film is set in New York, I recognized certain places, monuments, areas that I had been to that day). They show the film once, projected on walls and everyone sort of stands and watches and then they show the film again so this time you don’t have to watch, you can just dance along. So the film screenings basically turn into dance parties. You can also watch the whole film, in five minute chapters. (It’s nice to watch one per day watching them all in sitting can get a little tiresome… although, it is also difficult stop watching after just one chapter).
Aside from the pure feel-good vibes, the incessant cheeriness and the groovy spunk of this film, what I always find interesting is the many interactions with the public. It takes place all over New York City and when you watch the tourists, native New Yorkers and everyone in between, watch these dancers perform in and with public spaces, that in itself incredibly interesting. If you tire of the feel good poppy dance moves, you can watch the watchers with the same amount of interest (people watching people watching people etc. etc). Dancers and performance artists love to ramble about ‘site-specific work’ and ‘public performance art’ and ‘public art interventions’ and some of them can be bizarre, beautiful, whatever. Girl Walk // All Day manages to approach the self same topic in a really fresh, accessible way but in a subtle way, too.
Also, the movement vocabulary is great. The way Anne Marsen (who plays ‘The Girl’) dances makes me incredibly happy because it straddles this precarious line of an aesthetic that I am very familiar with (trained, balletic/contemporary dance) with an aesthetic that I really love (whatever you want, just move your body, however you feel – and dance to the music). This combination is not easy to pull off, but Anne Marsen does it. Well.
But here is the main reason why I love Girl Walk // All Day – everything about this film, from the production to the presentation, is inclusive and welcoming. And dance doesn’t always manage to send across that message, even though it has a huge capacity for it.
Anyway, I have written this post disjointedly in an old home, various airports and a new home, etc. and I apologize if it is all over the place. If you are not a totally cynical and disheartened human, there is a legitimate chance you may enjoy this film. Click the link below and watch the first chapter of the film (just five minutes), then I can stop writing, yes?
Or you can watch on YouTube here:
Also some pictures to compensate for poorly written post: