Watch Breath Made Visible
- 1 hr 21 min
Breath Made Visible is a documentary film released in 2009 that chronicles the life, work, and legacy of Anna Halprin, a renowned American dance artist and choreographer. The film explores her artistic philosophy, the milestones in her career, and the influence she has had on contemporary dance. Directed by Ruedi Gerber, the film begins with Anna Halprin's childhood in San Francisco and her early exposure to dance. Refusing to be constrained by convention or tradition, Halprin challenged the norms of ballet, drawing inspiration from a variety of influences, including the natural world and other art forms. She founded the San Francisco Dancers' Workshop in 1955, one of the first multidisciplinary centers in the country, where she promoted freedom of creativity among her students, providing a space for experimentation and improvisation.
As the film goes on, the audience meets the important people that accompany Halprin throughout her life: Merce Cunningham, a fellow dancer and collaborator; her husband Lawrence Halprin, a well-known landscape architect; and her daughter Daria Halprin, a performer, and psychotherapist. The movie highlights how Anna's methodology influenced her approach to daily living, and carried impact to her life, and the people that surrounded her.
Breath Made Visible depicts Halprin's work in the 1960s and 70s, as she became more interested in the healing aspect of dance, bringing therapy, and movement together through her use of improvisational technique using creative projects - this aspect is called "ritual circle." This method opened doors to the integration of the mind, self-expression, and the body through dance movements, blurring the lines between performance and healing.
Halprin's methods inspired and attracted many people, including terminally ill patients, who utilized her methodology to express themselves before they departed from life. Breath Made Visible accounts Halprin's contribution to the creation of the Life/Art process, which emphasizes embodied awareness and allows individuals to discover their inherent creative potential through dance and other artistic mediums. The documentary showcases how this process was implemented in real-life situations, in the rehabilitation of emotional and physical illness, and became a solid foundation towards various dance forms, even spearheading dance therapy.
In the later section of the movie, we witness how Halprin's life and work came together to face challenges that threatened her. In the early 2000s, Halprin was diagnosed with cancer but stayed committed to innovating dance forms and maintaining the longevity of her methodology. She sought advanced treatment for her cancer, losing her hair while regaining her strength, determined to continue exploring and creating despite the hardships she suffered.
Breath Made Visible is an excellent representation of how Anna Halprin's creative work inspires and informs dance and artistic expression. It serves as an exploration of her multifaceted life accomplishments, bravely experimenting practices rejected by others, which eventually became recognized as remarkable contributions to the evolution of the medium. The film highlights the significance of the artist's creative legacy, emphasizing how Anna Halprin has influenced and inspired countless poets, painters, playwrights, and dancers around the world.
In conclusion, Breath Made Visible sheds light on Anna Halprin's path and discoveries, packing three quarters of a decade of hard work, ingenious innovations, and heartbreaking ordeals into a two-hour movie, demonstrating how the power of movement can change the world with just one innovative swipe. The film also offers insights into Anna's process, the challenges encountered and how she dealt with them. Anyone interested in dance, therapeutic arts, or visual and performing arts in general, would appreciate this compelling portrait of Anna Halprin, a true icon of the art world.
Breath Made Visible is a 2009 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 64.