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DANCER, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Beautiful young African-American girl India (Mia Frye) lives to dance. She can move to any sound that New York City's best DJs can create, with her frenetic brand of hip-hop moves. But India is mute, and is thus restricted from furthering her professional career, and even though her overly protective brother Jasper (Garland DeWhitt) doubles as her manager, the siblings struggle to make ends meet. Little do they know that a young scientist, Isaac (Rodney Eastman), and his invention is about to change their lives forever. By attaching sensors to India's body, her movements can be expressed as sounds. It's a new form of communication for her, with far-reaching implications for all.

"An interesting indy project for Luc Besson, writer and producer here, who hands the directorial reigns to Fred Garson, his coffee-boy on The Professional and assistant director on Joan of Arc. Obviously, Besson thought highly of Garson's short blacks (did the crew snicker every time Besson yelled, "Garson, coffee!"). Likewise The Dancer's magnetic star, Mia Frye (a real dancer, but isn't mute), caught Besson's eye while doing clips for Serge Gainsbourg's My Legionnaire. He gave her parts in Nikita and The Fifth Element; not bad for a gal who would come to dance in The Macarena video. But Frye really is a talent, with beautiful blue eyes, long blond dreadlocks and a fantastic ability to emote - even here, without words. Expect more from this talented young actress/dancer. Thanks mainly to Frye's magnetic presence - and breathtaking moves - The Dancer plays like a terrific short story and slice of life in the wintry hell of New York. The siblings’ struggle to make ends meet (Jasper packs meat, India teaches dance to school kids) is as engaging as the beats India kicks to in the clubs. However, The Dancer falls short in several areas. It has an abrupt, unsatisfying conclusion, and fails to make the scientific side of things more tangible. If we knew just how Isaac was turning movement into sound and some of the many positive implications that has, this would be a more satisfying film. And the budding love story between India and Isaac is at best a leap of faith. The Dancer also relies heavily on thumping, scratching techno-beats to keep you engaged. The soundtrack (some songs of which are original) will undoubtedly give The Dancer cult status. Yet most audiences should love this short-lived melodrama, even if it leaves them wanting more."
Shannon J. Harvey

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

THE DANCER (M)
(US)

CAST: Mia Frye, Garland Whitt, Rodney Eastman, Josh Lucas, Feodor Atkine, Jarrod Bunch, Thierry Ashanti

PRODUCERS: Luc Besson

DIRECTOR: Frederic Garson

SCRIPT: Luc Besson (story), Jessica Kaplan

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thierry Arbogast

EDITOR: Sylvie Landra

MUSIC: Pascal lafa

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 14, 2001 (Perth only)







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