Saturday, April 02, 2016

Flare: Feelings Are Facts

The last few years have offered a range of material on dancer/choreographer/filmmaker Yvonne Rainer. Now comes a documentary on her, Feelings Are Facts: the Life of Yvonne Rainer, courtesy of director Jack Walsh. Taking her 1966 dance piece Trio A as its starting point, the film recounts Rainer's creative output, only pausing midway through to discuss her life, an odd decision, I felt. The interviews with Rainer and a host of luminaries, from Carolee Schneeman, B. Ruby Rich and others, are set in sumptuous rooms with fireplaces and richly coloured walls. I thought they all must live in fabulous mansions until I saw the interview locations credited at the end. Ah, the duplicity of film.

Rainer is a fascinating subject and seeing her on screen, I marvelled she is in her 80s, now quite proudly out and evincing a weathered butchness in her dotage. Throughout the film, she outlines a range of credos, from working with her own limited body to her No Manifesto to her use of pedestrian movement. But, she is adamant she is no theorist. Another critic offers a rejoinder. Rainer's work, she says, is choreography as theory.