Film Capsule: Bobbi Jene (Lind, 2017):USA


Posted by Larry Gleeson

Bobbi Jene, a documentary feature film, highlights the modern dance form of Bobbi Jene Smith.

After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene decides to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the U.S. to create her own boundary breaking art. Tracking the personal and professional challenges that await her, Elvira Lind’s film lovingly and intimately documents the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. BOBBI JENE delves into what it takes for a woman to gain her own independence in the extremely competitive world of dance and to find self-fulfillment in the process.

The film is far from perfect. But rather than focus on what’s not right about the film from a technical perspective, I’d rather tell about the striking physical ability Bobbi Jene’s protagonist possesses. Truthfully, I felt, at times, the physicality possessed Bobbi Jene. Espousing GAGA dance techniques, Bobbi Jene pushes, contorts, writhes and composes in a mesmerizing modern dance of isokinetic resistance and rapid-fire, ecstatic releases. Pushing boundaries, her dance reveals as much as it exposes. And, it’s a lot. Her energy, experience and intellect are laid bare. She literally and figuratively leaves it all out on the dance floor.

Without a doubt in my mind, Bobbi Jene is a calling card announcing the arrival of one of the greats of modern dance. The film serves its purpose well. I can only hope it’s the first of many more to come. Watch the trailer at the bottom of the page and see Bobbi Jene this Friday, October 6th at the Royal Theatre in Los Angeles (in select theaters the following week). Feel free to drop back by and add your comments!

About Bobbi Jene Smith

Born in Centerville, Iowa. From 2005-2014 she was a member of the Batsheva Dance Company under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. She is an alumnus of the Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Her choreography and solo work has been presented by The Batsheva Dance Company, PS122 COIL Festival, The Israel Museum, Luminato Festival, The Wild Project, Machol Shalem, Sacramento Ballet, The CCA, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, NYU, and The Juilliard School. She has worked in Punchdrunk’s production of Sleep No More as Lady Macbeth as well as ‘Dido and Aeneas’ and ‘Orphic Moment’ choreographed by Zack Winokur. Her film and video work include, “Annihilation,” directed by Alex Garland; “MA,” directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall; and “Yossi” directed by Eytan Fox. Bobbi is a certified GAGA teacher and has taught Ohad Naharin’s repertory in schools and universities around the world. In 2015, Smith relocated to New York City, NY.

About Elvira Lind

Born in 1981 in Copenhagen, Elvira Lind graduated from City Varsity – School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town in 2006 majoring in documentary film. She has worked within that field since directing and shooting documentaries of various lengths for TV, cinema, and web on four different continents. Elvira now lives and works out of New York, where she also writes on various fiction projects.

Elvira’s first feature documentary Songs for Alexis competed at IDFA in 2014 and screened at a long list of international festivals; she received CPH:DOX new talent award in 2015; and her first international documentary TV series ‘Twiz and Tuck’ launched on Viceland this year.

BOBBI JENE is Elvira’s second feature documentary, which premiered at Tribeca 2017.

About Producers Julie Leerskov and Sara Stockmann

BOBBI JENE is produced by Julie Leerskov and Sara Stockmann, the two main producers at SONNTAG PICTURES.

Sonntag Pictures is a Copenhagen-based film production company with a strong focus on cinematic, auteur-driven documentaries for a broad domestic and international audience. Sonntag Pictures identify with films that combine a strong artistic standpoint to a global social thinking—often with an urge to create political impact.

The company is headed by award-winning producer Sara Stockmann: Producer of ARMADILLO (Cannes Critics Week – Grand Prix 2010, Emmy-award 2011) and IDFA-nominee MERCY MERCY: A PORTRAIT OF A TRUE ADOPTION.

Julie Leerskov joined Sonntag Pictures in 2016, she has produced THE WILL by Christian Sønderby Jepsen (Danish Film Critics Association award 2012, DOX award, Doc Alliance Award) and has also produced Elvira Lind’s first feature documentary film SONGS FOR ALEXIS (selected for IDFA).

(Source: Press kit provided by Oscilloscope Laboratories)