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Brigadoon

Director:

U.S.A.| 1954. Colour. Anamorphic. 110 min.


A classic—perhaps the classic—Vincente Minnelli musical, Brigadoon is an explicit statement about the notion that an artist only lives through his art, preferring its reality to the world’s. The film begins with the disenchanted Tony (Gene Kelly) in flight from ‘civilised’ New York, lost in the Scottish Highlands and stumbling on the legendary village of Brigadoon which only appears for one day each century. There he meets the love of his life, Fiona (Cyd Charisse), only to discover the truth about Brigadoon and that some of its inhabitants want the real life he is fleeing from.
Like The Bandwagon before it, Brigadoon displays Minnelli’s superb sense of the interrelationship between dance and camerawork. Characteristically, he only cuts once or twice (and then unobtrusively) in a number, but makes great use of camera movement, sometimes to follow dance movement and at other times to counterpoint it. Brigadoon contains some of the most exhilarating examples of this. The delirious quality created by the choreography is at its strongest in the film’s two large numbers, ‘Come Ye to the Square’ and the gathering of the clans for the wedding, where the interplay of movement of the frame and movement in the frame is so highly charged that we are reminded that Brigadoon is not a reality but a utopia desired with such intensity that the vision of it becomes frenzied. As so often with Minnelli, it is the intensity of the wish that, magically, allows what is wished for to come true. New 35mm print.

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