Exactly what it sounds like, the Pick of the Week column is written up by the Cinapse team on rotation, focusing on films that are past the marketing cycle of either their theatrical release or their home video release. So maybe the pick of the week will be only a couple of years old. Or maybe it’ll be a silent film, cult classic, or forgotten gem. Cinapse is all about thoughtfully advocating film, new and old, and celebrating what we love no matter how marketable that may be. So join us as we share about what we’re discovering, and hopefully you’ll find some new films for your watch list, or some new validation that others out there love what you love too! Engage with us in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook! And now, our Cinapse Movie Of The Week…
Love it or hate it, you have to appreciate the sheer ridiculousness and spectacle of a Baz Luhrmann picture. I can’t imagine a better world for him to focus his sparkly eye on than that of ballroom dancing. As a fringe member of the ballroom scene, I can assure you that the dance world is only slightly less absurd than he is portraying it, though with less villains and backstabbing bitches and more friendly, regular people.
Our hero is Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio), a legacy dancer and Open Amateur whose mother’s greatest wish is to see him win that pinnacle event of the competition season, the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix. However, Scott feels stifled by the strict rules and regulations of competition dancing, and when literally boxed into a corner while competing, breaks the rules and breaks out prohibited dance steps. His flashy moves earn the ire of both his partner and the dance-powers-that-be, leaving his future uncertain as the Grand Prix approaches.
Our herione is Fran (Tara Morice), a partnerless Beginner who takes lessons at Scott’s family’s studio. Fran is a mousy ugly duckling who secretly longs to be one of the beautiful swans she sees on the competition floor, and who harbors a secret crush on Scott. Nobody gives quiet Fran much notice or credit, but she’s not without her own inner fire, cajoling Scott into giving her a chance on the dance floor.
Of course, no Luhrmann vehicle would be complete without a nefarious villain, who appears in the form of Barry Fife (Bill Hunter), president of the Australian Dancing Federation, and former winner of the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix. Fife’s neat and orderly world doesn’t have room for wild cards like Scott. Fife is a master manipulator; can The Man keep our intrepid hero and heroine down?
Though there are a few minor surprises in the storyline, overall nothing unexpected is happening here. You know exactly how things are going to unfold — a love story, an underdog story, a duckling-to-swan story — but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying when they do. And of course, there are dance numbers and an infinite amount of fabric and sparkles. The only “downside” is that between the thick Aussie accents and the occasional breakneak speed of the action, you might have to watch it a few times to fully comprehend what’s happening. But that’s not even a real downside, because Strictly Ballroom is so awesome you’ll want to watch it again and again. And if you don’t, well, you can just head back to Beginners where you belong!
Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!