A Britlsh film directed, scripted, photagraphed in Eastmancolor and edited by Steve Dwoskin. Based on the play Dynamo by Chris Wilkinson. Assistant cameraman and editor: Clive Myer. Music by Gavin bryars. With Linda Marlowe, Jenny Runacre, John Grillo, Malcolm Kaye, Pat Ford, Catherine kessler,Andrew Carrand Derek Paget. Distributed by The Other Cinema. Not yet submitted for a censor-certificate. 2 hours. 1972. London opening to be arranged.
Many peopie have personal experiences like Dynamo at Intervals throughout their lives. lt's formative and necessary and a part of things to know about the tenderness, vulgarity, violence and selflessness that we're cepable of at any one moment and in any one emotional sexual involvement. Dynamo is a film about all this, taking as its setting a strip-club, and as its subjects a series of strippers and their 'admirers.'
Dwoskin's film has the original cast of the stage play upon which it is based. Unlike more obvious narrative films in which tension and intensity are; ephemeral things easily recovered from and soon forgotten by the viewer, Dynamo deals in another kind of involvement and demands partakers rather than onlookers. Intense camerawork and a dogged honesty together with a painfuily beautiful soundtrack by Gavin Bryars, miake the suffering of the peaple in the nightclub one's own, and their follies one's own, too. The film, especially tawards the end, is very harrowing. The camera persistentiy strips each girl both physicaiiy and emotionally, and in sometimes-violent ways; as a woman, l found the implication of my sex's frailty and the film's denial of female will and sex-drive disturbing. The last girl in the show is stripped of all pretence.(she starts out in garish make-up and finishes in a state of complete and utter vulnerability) ending in the very condition of course, that she was trying to hide. The men who torment her are stylishly portrayed,managlng to the last to retain intact the facades that mask their impotence. The, last take is a sort of tableau with the besuited men holding sparkler fireworks, eventually extinguishing around the 'fallen' nude.
The interior - that is to say the strlp-club - affords a brilliantly, poetic backcloth for the action with its tinsel stars, red velvet and a yellow satin-covered bed. Each frame is a painting, in that the primary-coloured forms are aiways evocative and well composed. l like the econamy of the camerawork, but towards the end there were one or two moments when the hand-held camera obscured the action, detracting from it. The strong, stylised rendering of the action, and the vibrant use of primary colour are reminiscent of German Expressionism. Gavin Bryars' sound heightens the emotion, sometimes even by its absence. Dynamo already won a first award for best Foreign Film at the Toulan Festival, but was deemed 'too experimental' by the selection committee for the Cannes Directors' Fortnight. lt is by far the best film Dwoskin has made.
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