A GLIMPSE OF THE ARTS FOR THE MILLENNIALS
By Pablo A. Tariman
If there is one positive thing that you can say about “High Strung,” it is the fact that the movie gives young people a quick glimpse into the arts especially in the area of music and dancing.
If at all, the movie also gives moviegoers an idea as to how performing artists survive, how they live, how they love and what they suffer for.
It bring us intimate scenes in the ballet schools and classical musicians playng in the subways. On the other hand, it gives you a dosage of the other dance genres like hiphop and there is a competition scene where hiphop, the contemporary and the classical merge with electrifying results.
To top it all, the dancers look real and here we see Ruby (Keenan Kampa) do her plies and grand jete with the energy and refinement of a true dancer (it turned out she’s a ballerina who at one time enjoyed scholarship in a Russian school).
On top of that, the director managed to give young audiences what they like. There is a “kilig” (romantic thrill) factor in the love team of Ruby (Kampa) and Johnnie (Nicolas Galitzine) and there are glitzy bars scenes enough to drive millennials into eternal party ecstacy.
There is fire and passion in the character of Galitzine who has some money problems and there is so much compassion in the character of Kampa enough to seal the relationship with a modest dose of credibility.
As it is, “High Strung” gives you a slice of the hard life in the arts.
The dance teachers in the ballet schools emphasize the value of discipline, there is a case of the wayward dancer who’d rather enjoy an evening of wild sex than meet the rigid requirements of her art. And the only way to shine (and earn cash to boot) is to join a string and dance competition.
But the case of the violinist (Nicholas Galitzine) gives you an idea why classical musicians turn to pop (it brings in some amount of modest fame and cash).
You can’t help recalling the music odyssey of Galitzine with that of Manila’s John Lesaca who used to play in a symphony orchestra and then suddenly turned to pop with his electric guitar.
There is a high degree of imagination in the making of this movie as it ties both the pop, the contemporary and the classical into one musical mould.
For one, the rehearsal scenes are stunning. The cinematographer (Viorel Sergovici) manages to capture the various magical nuances of dance. The most luminous dancing by Kampa is captured in this movie and again, the cinematography makes it all look so natural.
However, there is some parts where competitions in the arts did look ridiculous.
The waiter (Johnnie) get to tangle with the other “star violinist” (Kyle (Richard Southgate) in a musical gathering and the joust of the bows indeed bordered on the inane.
But such musical rivalries do exist in the arts and the director probably mounted the scene as a musical spoof.
The climax of the movie is no doubt the competition scene.
Here you some some first choreographies (especially the male ensembles dancing to Bach suites) that will whet the appetite of the dance lovers.
Again,the cinematographer did wonders on these scenes and here at last is a glimpse of the best in the arts when they are competing. To some extent, the work of choreographer Dave |Scott is peerless as he managed to oversee the various dance genres and making them look equally appealing.
Director Michael Damian has the perfect eye of a dance enthusiast to make the movie appealing to both dance and music lovers.
To be sure, “High Strung” has the appeal of “Step Up” and the energy of “Fame” and “Flashdance” but none of the dramatic impetus of “Turning Point.”
But it has something very positive to say about life in the arts and how some artists cope.
“High Strung” now showing in cinemas.