Short Film Review: Off Ground

2014 SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS SELECTION!
Unrated
12 minutes

****

“Off Ground” is less a short film and more a filmed performance piece. But wait! It’s not as insufferable as that sounds. Some stunning visual effects and unusual choreography keep the viewer engaged for the entire running time, even if it’s not always clear what’s happening.

The whole thing is unequivocally a choreographed dance, so all of the action is entirely symbolic. Set to a lovely violin-heavy classical soundtrack, it starts quietly, as a sinewy 50-year-old woman and a 12-year-old boy play tenderly. Their dance increases in intensity and slowly pulls the two figures apart until they are leaping about the room entirely independent of one another.

Eventually, the action comes full circle, but not before it dips into the supernatural. This thing is undoubtedly rife with symbolism about mothers and sons but you don’t need to go there to be entertained. The physical abilities of the two dancers are marvelous enough, and that’s before the levitation and walls turning to water.

Does it need to be 12 minutes long? Perhaps not. I found my mind wandering at certain points. But I was always sucked back in. “Off Ground” is breathtaking and well worth your time.

Originally published on FilmThreat.com (now defunct).

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