Film director Jevan Chowdhury fell in love with what he calls “cine-dance” in 2010. That year, he directed a short film for an art project commissioned by the dance company East London Dance, in conjunction with West Stratford City: a shopping center in the East London town of Stratford. The film, Dancing Voices, is a five-and-a-half-minute exploration into the many cultures, styles and people that make up the ELD. The dancers perform in public spaces around London, these places include: the Eastbury Manor House in Barking and Dagenham; the Trinity Buoy Wharf in Tower Hamlets; and The View Tube near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Voices was released in 2011 and in the three years since, Chowdhury has been busy directing and editing a series of short films that once again feature dance prominently in his vision.
The series, titled Moving Cities, features dancers in major cities like London, Paris, Brussels and Yerevan, all performing different variations of dance among the cities traffic and population. From traditional abstract, classical to urban, alternative to mainstream, all styles come together to accomplish the directors goal of showcasing “a city through the movements of its people.”
Chowdhury has so far filmed four short films in blunt black and white cinematography. The monochrome look, while simple, offers the viewers to focus more on the dancers than the distracting lights of the cities many advertisements, trains and automobiles. Two of our personal favorites were the videos set in Paris and London. The Paris video resembles the early work of Godard, but with an injection of Pina Bausch,causing a unique blend that appeals to both cinephiles and dance enthusiasts; Moving Cities London give off a similar feeling, but with a score seemingly delivered by the English musical group Massive Attack.
The film series has justifiably earned Chowdhury attention from film festivals in London, Rome, Seoul, Sweden and São Carlos. The series latest installment Moving Cities: Prague, releasing this month, was sponsored by the British Council (Britian’s international cultural organization). Chowdhury is currently making plans for expanding his series into parts of Asia, The Middle East and North America. Personally, we would love to see his vision of NYC. Would he venture to the Bronx, where the art of break-dancing (a sub-section of the overall Hip Hop culture) first formed? Would he venture to the streets of Brooklyn, where art from the world’s finest graffiti and street artists appear on the walls in legal and non-legal fashion? Or would he surprise all of us by shooting in Staten Island? Whenever he decides to film here, we’re sure he will have no problems finding willing participants, all he has to do is ride the subway.
All images taken from the Moving Cities Facebook
He is ready to dance… badly. Well, maybe not that badly, depending on how well you dance, so come dance with him, hit him up on twitter @ChrisLInoa