Ossus Library Index Non-Fiction Movie Index

PULSE: A STOMP ODYSSEY

Directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas (2002, Giant Screen Films)
Starring the cast of Stomp and people from around the world.

A variety of musical sounds from tribal and modern cultures around the world.

 

 

3+ stars+

September 6th, 2003 on the IMAX screen

 
   

There was a lot to like here, and a huge variety of sounds.

It is inevitable that out of such a vast number of sounds, some would appeal to people more than others. Most of the people featured in this film played some sort of percussive instrument, because those were probably the first to appear among humans, as it is easy to slap something to make a sound.

Combine this with some original and traditional dances, and we get the visual aspect of the movie. My favorites are the traditional tribal dances from Africa. These people have such harmony, and great fluidity of their bodies. I don't know why, but I am not so enamoured of the native Americans' music, though it has some of the same basis.

The flip side to these cultures is the modern dance of the inner city, from a traditional band and an alternative band crossing a bridge in New York, to kids improvising their dance on a rooftop (I didn't know break-dancing was still active, and it doesn't seem to have evolved much since I did it back in the 1980s!). Although I preferred the tribal music and dance, these were still enjoyable.

Sultry dance has evolved in Spain, where a Flamenco dancer gave an amazing solo performance. Over in India, thousands of people took part in a music and dance festival. There were counterpoints to everything. Next, I loved the giant drum-work of the Japanese.

The direction of the show was the only thing that didn't work so well. It was very random, such that it gave a sort of mental whiplash in trying to follow the different contrasts.

Still, the transitions were amusing, at the least. The cast of Stomp did just a little bit of trash-can banging, or music created solely from the sound of air bursting from their mouths. People from other cultures added their melodies to this throughout, as well. Other transitions included visuals of animals, like elephants, giraffes, and so on. There were sounds of cars in traffic, an Australian device that causes a whirring in the air when swung (I used to know the name of this device, but it escapes me now), and even factory noises. It was all part of the global sound, or the Pulse of the world.

The movie might have done better with a short and simple narrative to describe the peoples, instead of the text during the end credits, but then again, it might have taken away from the sounds and sights that were supposed to be the main focus.

 
   

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