Lind’s documentary follows the pivotal stages in the life of talented and transgressive contemporary dancer Bobbi Jene Smith as she enters her thirties. While Lind seeks to chronicle the major transformations in roughly two years of her life, the beauty of this film is in how it captures – though “capture” might be slightly the wrong word – a female creative in the moment of artistic creation.
The artwork Bobbi Jene makes in the States is incredibly personal and Lind’s candid witness to this is a real achievement. Jene’s work not only expresses moments of artistic self-doubt but is provocative enough to rattle the viewer from their comfortable presuppositions about the form.
Awarded Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature at Tribeca Film Festival, Lind’s kinetic camerawork is in synchronicity with Bobbi Jene’s rapturous movement across the dance studio. True to the definition of a motion picture, movement big and small is the focus of this film.
Lind documents Bobbi Jene’s reluctance to ever settle down – the idea of conforming to an outdated, passive role of womanhood simply does not occur to her as it does to her mother. Hinting at why Bobbi Jene journeyed across the world in the first place, Lind portrays how much of an influence her fractious relationship with her mother has had on her artistic career.
Her long-distance relationship with her boyfriend and fellow dance artist Or is particularly affecting. While we are not made to forget the presence of Lind’s camera, their absorption in each other’s dance is a joy to behold.
While we are glad to hear this story, its merits lie more with Bobbi Jene’s talents than the documentary itself. Nonetheless, Bobbi Jene is a whirling kinaesthetic biopic that celebrates the fierce, unglamorous work of one relentless woman. There’s even a surprise appearance from Laura Dern!
CAST: Bobbi Jene Smith, Or Schraiber
DIRECTOR: Elvira Lind
WRITER: Maja Jul Larsen
SYNOPSIS: A love story portraying the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. It is a film about a woman’s fight for independence, a woman trying to succeed with her own art in the extremely competitive world of dance.