- Director: Jamila Wignot
With dance [especially]...words become an intrusion.
To talk about dance, to appreciate dance...words are a necessity. Jamila Wignot treads a very fine line...between not enough/too many dance sequences. For lovers of dance, there are never too many...but, film has a time constraint and a generosity of dance will affect the story being told. In other words - and this goes against the grain of filmmaking - tell don't show. Apart from his obvious choreographic genius, by only showing...we wouldn't learn much about Alvin Ailey.
Old recordings and talking testimonies make up the bulk of Alvin's story...but, there are gaping gaps...simply, because, he was a private, protective man who wrestled with his demons throughout his life. He spoke through dance...his life story is recorded in movement...and, for those discovering Mr Ailey's work for the first time...it's all open to interpretation. This here film helps to restrict any ludicrous re-imaginings of his work...or, his life...although, there has been a whisper that a bio-pic is in the works...that would be a great disservice to his privacy.
Let his work speak of itself and for himself...Jamila Wignot doesn't pry, doesn't presume, doesn't create...this film, quite simply and beautifully, tells the story of a great man with an immense talent...the way he would have wanted it to be told. Now...that is a very rare accomplishment.
Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. Told in his own words and through the creation of a dance inspired by his life, this immersive portrait follows a man who, when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him, determined to build one that would.