An intense documentary about the legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham. Using archive footage and photographs, as well as Cunningham’s diagrams and drawings, the film takes us inside his creative process as it developed from his early years as a struggling dancer in New York City to his conquest of the choreographic world. Misunderstood and rejected at first, he developed new techniques and new thinking in collaboration with his life partner, the composer John Cage, and the visual artist Robert Rauschenberg. Carefully selected period footage is interleaved with captivating recreations of some of Cunningham’s most seminal choreography, and the film mixes these imaginary realms with real life experiences, creating a comprehensive account of how Merce became Merce.
“If Kovgan’s sharp restagings in subway tunnels and spartan woods are inventive, so too is her handling of archive footage, her subject found in motion inset on screen alongside scribbled notes, as if alive inside a scrapbook.” - Danny Leigh, The Financial Times.
““The revolutionary visuals find endless ways to honour the mind of an innovator.” – Empire Magazine.
“Whether you come to Cunningham as a neophyte or an aficionado, you’ll leave with a rich experience of his art.” - Toronto International Film Festival.
“With searing use of colour and that sense of joy in physicality that was key to the master’s work, this is a film that you will find it very hard to look away from…. Far from the usual dry, tonally cautious biopic, Kovgan’s film is a true cinematic experience… simply thrilling to watch.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film.