The only words in Celia Rowlson-Hall's dance film Ma are in the final scene, when a young girl warbles "Amazing Grace." But its heavy, eerie silence is more than lack of dialogue—for much of the movie there's no music or sound besides a low hum, so even a handful of drumbeats is a welcome and exciting change of pace. To be fair, describing Ma as a "dance film" is a bit of a stretch. Movement is central but it's also an art piece and a silent drama that embraces the mundane and the absurd. Intimate scenes of daily life—time spent alone in bathrooms, a quick trip to the gas station—become twisted and unpredictable with characters that don't follow the rules of our world.
Celia Rowlson-Hall will be in attendance for the screenings this Saturday and Sunday at Northwest Film Forum.
by Julia Raban
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