Living Stars

Directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat

In this documentary, Argentinians dance to their favourite hits.

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  • ★★★★ review by Christopher on Letterboxd

    Pretty much Girl Walk shot like a Roy Anderrson film, Living Stars isn't the deepest study of people bursting with happiness into dance but it is exceptionally fun and pure bottled magic in its minimalist approach. Living Stars might be scaled back compared to Girl Walk but more than makes up for it with well timed editing and better craftsmanship.

  • ★★★★ review by C.J. on Letterboxd

    So yeah, I watched this twice in a row. It's an incredibly simple premise. The directors go into someone's home or workplace, plop the camera down on a tripod, and film somebody dancing to a song. Ages range from toddlers to retirees. The people selected appear to be random. They dance to a song for a bit, and then the film cuts to a different person dancing to another song (the songs transition seamlessly, which is a welcome touch). Every person has their name, occupation and part of Buenos Aires they live in shown on the bottom left of the screen. That's it.

    But the absolute joy this simple, rigid structure generates. The set-up is deliberately lo-fi; almost every scene has the microphone resting somewhere near the dancer, and sometimes the cameraman can be seen through a mirror. Friends and family members tend to watch from the edges of the frame, or just go about their own business, ignoring the one person dance party next to them. Sometimes people join in, other times unexpected things might happen. The camera keeps running no matter what, staying locked on its subject.

    Part of what makes Living Stars so enjoyable is the way certain scenes can slightly diverge from the formula. It's impossible not to grin like an idiot when a dancer from an earlier scene reappears, or when the film does a match cut between two sequences. And each scene is brilliant in the way it can create its own mini-story out of what's happening. People's bedrooms, living rooms, backyards, garages, etc. turn into a glimpse into these people's lives. But before you can know anything, it's time to move on to the next dancer.

    Unfortunately distribution for this one seems unlikely. The soundtrack is filled with so many major pop songs it'd be impossible to pay for all the rights, and the very brief 60 minute runtime means it won't make it in theatres. But God, I hope this movie can make its way to people someday. It's one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had watching something all year.

  • ★★★★½ review by Craig White on Letterboxd

    So simple, totally joyful. Not every dancer is great, but that's the point of getting everyday people who just love to dance to their favourite tunes to perform for the camera. Nicely shot and edited, I wish they'd clear the rights on this one so that you could get it on iTunes or Netflix: the very rare festival screening isn't quite enough!

  • ★★★★★ review by Alex Lovendahl on Letterboxd

    This movie affirms life by celebrating love, dance, accessibility, diversity, children, the elderly, family, and music. It also takes its viewer on a demographic tour of Argentina without a word. This is one of the best movies ever made, as far as I'm concerned.

  • ★★★★ review by Griffin Bell on Letterboxd

    Feel good film that is simple, genuine, and easily re-watchable.

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