NiteTalk: Filmmaker Dara Friedman Gets Restless at MAM

Dara Friedman Dancer R

She moves and she shakes and she makes some of the most compelling moving images ever put to screen. She's worked her wonders all over the wild world, including New York (Musical) and Frankfurt (Frankfurt Song). With Dancer she returns to the MIA, and gives us a film as moving and magical as the city itself. She is Dara Friedman, and she's gonna get "Restless" at MAM this Thursday night.

What's the story behind your Dancer? For a long time I've wanted to "make a film with dancers"...but what does that mean? Pina Bausch's statement, "I'm not interested in how you move, but rather what moves you" was an idea that I concurred with, and I knew it would be good dancer bait. In order to "make a film with dancers", I needed to meet some dancers. So that was the starting point.

Did you ever train under and/or see Pina Bausch? Pina Bausch was in my Tante Bernhild's dance class at the Folkwangschule in Essen under the direction of Kurt Joos. I grew up hearing about her and how Bausch's feet were too big for point shoes -- something I was constantly reminded of to cheer me up because I was hopeless en pointe. Then I finally saw Carnations performed at BAM when I was 16 and was gutted by the punk elegance.

How'd you find your cast of characters? I put out a "Dancers Wanted" ad on craigslist, had it posted at The New World School, put flyers up in clubs, generally put the word out for a three-day audition to get to know everybody. Everyone is local... I did fly down the SKINT ladies Jessie Gold and Elizabeth Hart from New York, but Jessie went to New World, so...

How 'bout locations? All Miami. Each individual dance had to find a home; a place/location where it was comfortable enough to shine. It was a complicated logarithm though dealing with the flow and density of traffic, location of the sun, pedestrians, wanting it to be monumentally urban yet happily aware that there's dirt four inches under the sidewalk.

Would you consider Dancer to be a kinda cinematic love letter to the city? That just about nails it. When you love someone you pretty much look at them with blinkered vision. You don't really look at what you don't want to see, and faults become charming.

Word is this is the third in a series, that so? That series thing doesn't really come from me. I'm just taking it as it comes. Musical was a piece that I made for the Public Art Fund in New York where Midtown basically became the stage with close to 70 dancers singing there hearts out over a three-week period, day and night. In Frankfurt Song the city performed -- by that I mean, street musicians, cathedral organ, bell towers, gypsies, whoever was around -- "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Stones.

Will there be a round four? Yes, SYNESTHESIA the connection between music and images. The symphony exploded into pictures. What does it look like to feel (see?) the sound.

Dara Friedman delivers an Artist Talk at Miami Art Museum Thursday February 16 coincident with the opening of "Restless". For more information log on here.

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