A (short) Film Rumination: 9 Variations on a Dance Theme, Hilary Harris (1966/67)

7.5/10  (Good)

While ambling aimlessly on youtube looking for interesting short films, I discovered this forgotten gem by Hilary Harris.  I’d never heard of this filmmaker nor are most of his films listed on Internet Movie Database (besides his oscar winning short subject documentary, ‘Seawards the Great Ships’ and a voteless short film, ‘Pastoral’).  A quick netflix search revealed a DVD collection which I’ll check out soon…

Hillary Haris is considered a pioneer in time-lapse photography.  However 9 Variations on a Dance, is somewhat different than his standard fare (and an extraordinarily obscure work).  It explores, the movements of a single dancer (Bettie de Jong) in an sparse studio.  Each variation begins with the dancer rising slowly from the floor and descending at the end.  At about the 5 minute mark Harris’s camera and editing become more adventurous and the visual experience is heightened.

This is a beautifully simplistic and stylistically memorable film experience which explores the grace of the human form.  The music is also quite interesting but definitely the most forgettable aspect of the short. Worthwhile.  Indulge in forgotten films…  O esoteric fringes…

2 Replies to “A (short) Film Rumination: 9 Variations on a Dance Theme, Hilary Harris (1966/67)”

  1. thanks for finding this movie. I’m not sure what I thought of it, but it was interesting. It definitely felt like it was from the 60s.

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