Streaming via the Vancouver International Film Festival until October 7, 2020.

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Maguy Marin: Time to Act (L’Urgence d’agir) is a documentary about the life and works of French choreographer, Maguy Marin, who has created over 40 works in the dance-theatre genre since the 1970s, and is still active today. The film, directed by her son, David Mambouch, is mainly told through first person interviews with Marin and members of Compagnie Maguy Marin, spliced with excerpts of her works illustrating the stories and anecdotes. 

Most of the excerpts are of Marin’s seminal work, May B, created in 1981 and still being performed today, which was inspired by texts by playwright Samuel Beckett. In May B, Marin wanted to challenge the idealized beauty and athleticism expected from dance. Her troupe of dancers shuffled and grunted through scenes examining universal human behaviours, with their skin plastered in a later of drying, peeling clay, intermittent teeth painted black to portray gaps of decay and imperfection, and dressed in loose, white nightgowns. 

The film shows Marin’s motivation to connect with and express the struggles of the common people, driven by her own life experiences – her parents fled Spain during the Franco regime –  and her fierce political opinions. Particular focus is given to the outreach programs that her company has installed in the communities in which her national choreographic centres in France are based. 

Time to Act chronicles Marin’s life and perspective in quite a linear fashion. A better way to experience Marin’s psyche and the impact she has had on her audiences, is to see one of her works.