HollyShorts 2017: Dance and Music Block - Film Reviews

Dance and music are incredible art forms to express through film, as so much of it is subjective and much not actually spoken. From musicals to interpretive dance, these films push the boundaries of the way films can be made and how art can be expressed through different mediums.

REPAIRations: The Musical

This first piece of this year's block was a really fun look into the expression of black culture and the struggles faced. While these struggles are by no means "fun," the film takes a more humorous look at those struggles, using song and dance to inspire young people inside this culture to improve themselves and strive for equality. From the election of President Obama to the sometimes staggering statistics that show how young people of color are treated and viewed, this film makes great use of the genre to really show how to improve things and take matters into your own hands.

Night Dancing

This is one of those more interpretive pieces, something that will be relatively frequent in this block. The story of a man who sees a beautiful woman dancing in the streets brings on a struggle of sanity, as he can't trust his eyes that this woman is real. This is compacted by the appearance of a man dancing with her, but this sight becomes too real later on, as he finds out just how real all of this is. It's a beautiful piece, scored brilliantly, and with some incredible dancing.

Deadpool: The Musical

So, this is an odd one. This unofficial fan film is a hilarious look at Marvel's Deadpool, as he looked in his hit film of the same name, combining his antics with the Beauty and the Beast song, “Gaston,” to create an eclectic mix of fun and vulgarity. As a fan of the character, I really enjoyed this, though it was a bit strange to see. It captured the character well, though, and so it should be commended for keeping with tone.

Kill Off
This was a very touching film to watch, as it focuses on Sonja, a woman whose mental disability doesn't stop her for expressing her love of the Krump style of dancing. This hip-hop-based form is one of the more popular forms of dance in the world, and this film shows off the power it can hold. Sonja meets a young Sudanese man who helps to teach her the ways of the style, including the “kill off” move, a move designed to end a dance battle with emphasis. It was very fun, heartwarming, and just well done all around.


Another film that focuses on a more hip-hop-oriented dance style, this piece is set in a dark structure as two men go at it with their own signature styles and tracks. The film mixed a bit of the spiritual into it, as the dancers seem to take physical harm from the blows delivered by their opponent. It was a unique take on a dance-oriented film and one that captured a lot of wonderful styles and techniques into it.

Through the Supermarket in Five Easy Pieces

This Finnish dance film really takes the form of a filmed interpretive dance. Focusing on a family of five that arrives at a supermarket as it nears closing, this film is a fun romp through the store as the family dances, moves, and flows through the store, signifying the struggles of the parents to keep things under control through the energy of the children. It was very entertaining and interesting to see a film played out that way.

Cold Storage

A bit tough to explain, Cold Storage is a piece that brings the idea of partying through dance to a new level. After meting his soul brother out on the open ice through the guise of a woolly mammoth, a lonely fisherman thaws his new friend out and has a party that will never be forgotten. Playful and ridiculous, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

Smile: A Musical

While still a very happy piece, this film has a darker side, as it deals with a very difficult subject. A young girl who loves to sing and dance does everything she can to cheer up her father, who is suffering from depression. In finding something from his youth that makes him smile, this young lady uses a song from her father's past to cheer him up, with help from an imaginary version of the former band's lead singer. Poppy and bright, it's nice to see the disorder handled so honestly, while also trying to put something happy into it.

Intrinsic Moral Evil

An interpretive dance that focuses on the struggles of those in the gay community, this is a beautiful piece that focuses so much on telling the story through dance that it was a struggle to understand at first. That's not a complaint, but more of what feels like an intentional way of storytelling, as the plot developed really slowly and wasn't made clear until the very end. The dancers in this piece were incredible and gave off so much emotion that is was really a sight to behold.

Echo Park Blues

This was the most music focused of this block, as many of the films focused more on the dance portion of this genre. This piece, however, gives the spotlight to an old jazz musician, who after a bit of a dry spell, finally writes the next great song of his life, reuniting him with the musicians who have been burned by him in the past. The music in this film is incredible, emotional, and very fitting for the genre. These musicians show how jazz music should really be played, with pure heart and love.

Get Free

This was probably one of the most fun films of the block but also one of the hardest to explain or understand. Set in an office where everyone and everything seems to be carefully choreographed, this film eventually devolves from a stuffy office to an all-out dance party, as the music changes and frees the workers from their drudgery. A really good time, but very much left for the audience to figure out.

The Ballerina, Her Shoemaker, and His Apprentice

This was a wonderful way to end this block, as the beauty of the ballet was on full display here. A young apprentice shoemaker brings himself into this new world, opening himself up to a whole new slice of life as he learns how carefully crafted each shoe is and how much it can affect a dancer. Falling in love with it, it inspires him to become the best maker he can be and thrive at his new vocation.

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