Title: Nora
Running Time : 35 minutes
Year of Release: 2008
Format: HD (1080-59.96i)
Projection Format: HDCAM, others

Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: Stereo, Dolby Surround E 5.1
Languages: English

"...dream-like recollections and vivid hues produce a rich and deeply satisfying film." - Brooklyn Rail, read full review

"[Nora] succeeds in combining a rough personal narrative with poetic, allusive imagery." - New York Times

"a stunning visual/aural experience" - International Documenatry Association http://documentary.org/content/thinking-outside-docs-fortnight-nonfiction-moma

"this gorgeous dance-poem... has startling color, vigorous movements and gestures, and a deep understanding of the power of a face to transfix...exquisite details." - Denver Post

"A highlight of the festival was ..."Nora", directed by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton. Based on the life of Zimbabwean-born dancer Nora Chipaumire, this film is part biopic, part fable, part dramatic cinema and part dance film. Filmed on location in Southern Africa and lusciously coloured, Nora engages with concepts of self and memory, and the active process of remembering, using a language of dance. The traditional tools of filmmaking—lighting and landscape, pacing and movement—draw out story and character, and a searing performance by Chipaumire as herself, her mother, her father and other characters provides a strong emotional centre. Tableaux are carefully composed within the frame and in a gesture towards silent film scenes are punctuated by brief and sometimes humorous intertitles." - Justine Shih Pearson, realtime #89, Australia, http://www.realtimearts.net/article/89/9340
"Il est des rencontres qui restent ancrées dans l’esprit tant elles sont fortes, belles ou violentes, comme il est des films qui touchent par leur sujet, leur mise en scène ou leur interprétation. Présenté à Clermont-Ferrand dans la catégorie Labo, « Nora », le documentaire expérimental de Alla Kovgan et David Hinton est un voyage envoûtant aux confins d’une Afrique ancestrale et contemporaine..." - Marie Bergeret, Format Court, read full review

"Nora, c'est l'histoire d'une libÈration, le dÈtail de ses souffrances, de ses dÈsirs et de ses peurs, le tout prÈsentÈ sous l'angle du rythme, comme si le corps Ètait littÈralement traversÈ par les souvenirs." - http://www.voir.ca/

More reviews:

wait a moment and click Play in the QuickTime Player to see a 1 minute excerpt and a 3 minute clip below:

creteil docaviv

pbs arte
MOMA louvre

(scroll down for the full list of screenings)

download still 1 in high res
(Nora Chipaumire)

download still 2 in high res
(Souleymane Badolo and Nora Chipaumire)

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(Nora Chipaumire)

download still 4 in high res
(Nora Chipaumire)

download still 5 in high res
(Nora Chipaumire)

download still 9 in high res
(Toi-Toi performers)

download still 6 in high res
(Nora Chipaumire)

download still 7 in high res
(Nora Chipaumire and Soulyemane Badolo)

download still 8 in high res
(Nora Chipaumire)

director: Alla Kovgan and David Hinton
screenplay: Alla Kovgan, David Hinton, Nora Chipaumire
choreographer: Nora Chipaumire (http://pentacle.org/roster_nora_chipaumire.asp)
orginal score: Thomas Mapfumo

performers: Nora Chipaumire, Souleymane Badolo and many extras
cinematographer: Mkrtich Malkhasyan (above stills credit: Mkrtich Malkhasyan)
editor: Alla Kovgan
producer: Joan Frosch
production company: Movement Revolution Productions (MRP)
distributor: MRP
country of production:
USA, UK, Mozambique
commissioned by EMPAC DANCE MOViES Commission 2007, supported by The Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts – Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA

in association with Center for World Arts, University of Florida

additional funding by
The Center for African Studies (University of Florida)
Office of Research, and Fine Arts Scholarship Enhancement Fund (University of Florida)
Movement Revolution Productions

"Nora" is a dense and swiftly moving poem of sound and image that tells the story of a dancer growing up in Zimbabwe.

Shot in Southern Africa, “Nora” is based on childhood memories of the self-exiled dancer Nora Chipaumire who was born in Zimbabwe in 1965. Using performance and dance, she brings her history to life in a swiftly-moving poem of sound and image. The original score was composed by a Zimbabwean legend - Thomas Mapfumo.

“Nora” is based on true stories of the dancer Nora Chipaumire, who was born in Zimbabwe in 1965. In the film, Nora returns to the landscape of her childhood and takes a journey through some vivid memories of her youth. Using performance and dance, she brings her history to life in a swiftly-moving poem of sound and image. Shot entirely on location in Southern Africa, “Nora” includes a multitude of local performers and dancers of all ages, from young schoolchildren to ancient grandmothers, and much of the music is specially composed by a legend of Zimbabwean music - Thomas Mapfumo.

“Nora” is based on true stories of the dancer Nora Chipaumire, who was born in Zimbabwe in 1965. In the film, Nora returns to the landscape of her childhood and takes a journey through some vivid memories of her youth. Using performance and dance, she brings her history to life in a swiftly-moving poem of sound and image. The result is a film about family dramas, difficult love affairs and militant politics, which moves back and forth between the comic and the tragic, the joyful and the mournful. It is a film about a girl who is constantly embattled - struggling against all kinds of intimidation and violence - but who slowly gathers strength, pride and independence. Shot entirely on location in Southern Africa, “Nora” includes a multitude of local performers and dancers of all ages, from young schoolchildren to ancient grandmothers, and much of the music is specially composed by a legend of Zimbabwean music - Thomas Mapfumo.

"Nora" est basée sur des histoires vraies d'une danseuse Nora Chipaumire, qui était né au Zimbabwe en 1965. Dans le film, Nora revient au paysage de son enfance et prend un voyage par les mémoires vives de sa jeunesse. Utilisant l'exécution et la danse, elle apporte son histoire à la vie dans une poésie rapide-mobile de bruit et d'image. Le résultat est un film au sujet des drames de famille, aventures amoureuses difficiles et politique militante, qui se déplace dans les deux sens entre le comique et le tragique, le joyeux et le triste. C'est un film au sujet d'une fille qui est constamment rompue aux conflits - luttant contre toutes sortes d'intimidation et violence - mais qui recueille lentement la force, la fierté et l'indépendance. Tiré entièrement sur l'endroit en Afrique australe, "Nora" inclut une multitude d'interprètes locaux et des danseurs de tous les âges, de jeunes écoliers aux grands-mères anciennes, et une grande partie de la musique se compose particulièrement par une légende de la musique zimbabwéenne - Thomas Mapfumo.

BIOS of filmmakers:

ALLA KOVGAN (director)
Alla Kovgan is a Boston-based filmmaker, born in Moscow (Russia). Her films and films that she co-directed have been presented worldwide including at the Sundance, Rotterdam, Toronto, Melbourne, Durban, Oberhausen, Clemont-Ferrand, PBS (US), ZDF (Germany) and numerous others. In 2007, she co-directed, wrote and edited the Emmy-nominated "Traces of the Trade" and in 2010, she edited “My perestroika”. Both films saw their premiere at Sundance Film Festival and were broadcast on PBS P.O.V. Since 1999, Alla has been involved with interdisciplinary collaborations – creating intermedia performances (with KINODANCE Company), dance films and documentaries about dance such as “Movement (R)evolution Africa” together with Joan Frosch. Alla's projects have been supported by Open Society Institute, LEF Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Bank of America Celebrity Series, among others. Since 2000, she has taught and curated dance film/avant-garde cinema worldwide as the Programmer of St. Petersburg Dance Film Festival KINODANCE (Russia) and as a co-Curator of Balagan Film Series (Boston). In 2009, Alla was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and a Brother Thomas Fellowship for artists working at a high level of excellence and creativity.

DAVID HINTON (director)
David Hinton is a director who has made many documentaries for British television. His subjects have included artists of all kinds, including painter Francis Bacon, film-maker Bernardo Bertolucci, writer Alan Bennett, and choreographer Karole Armitage. He has also made films about Dostoyevsky, rock and roll, visual comedy, and the Cultural Revolution in China. He is best known in the dance world for DEAD DREAMS OF MONOCHROME MEN and STRANGE FISH, his film versions of stage shows by DV8 Physical Theatre. He has also made performance films with Adventures in Motion Pictures, the Alvin Ailey Company and the Royal Swedish Ballet, and he has collaborated with several choreographers to create original dance works for the screen. He has twice won British Academy awards for his documentaries, and his dance films have won many awards, including a Prix Italia, an Emmy, and the IMZ Dance Screen Award.

Directors' Notes:

"Nora’s story is full of drama but we wanted to tell it not as a dramatist would, but as a poet would. We wanted something more rapid, vivid, and economical than conventional drama - something that combined clarity of storytelling with density of meaning. We wanted the film to work through metaphor, distilling the abstract into the concrete, and expressing the emotional through the physical. Dance was perfect for our purposes. It allowed us to give unusual rhythms to narrative, and invent different ways to tell different stories. We kept feeling that we needed to invent a certain cinematic language to achieve what we were after - we had never seen a film like this before - and this made the whole experience of making into an exhilarating adventure.

This is a film about memory. The dancing is an enactment of memory, a consequence of memory, or a dialogue with memory. Nora, in the film, is always possessed by memory. Consequently, we wanted the images to have the dreamlike quality of things remembered. Our cinematographer achieved it by punching light into the scenes with lots of reflectors. This gave “Nora” the look we were seeking, of a world where time is not quite real time, color not quite real color, where the images have an hallucinatory feeling.

Due to the political situation in Zimbabwe, we shot “Nora” in Mozambique, right at the Zimbabwe border, in Manica Province. Our biggest joy came from working with the local people. How can we thank them enough? Nirakar Panda and Alfredo Sandulane found and trained all of our extras. It was they who put us in touch with the orphanage of Pastor Madeira of the 7th April Church in Chimoio, where a lot of our finest young dancing talent came from...Then there was Zacarias Mukodza, Lucia Mastone and Alice Agostinho who opened the doors of their homes for us to film in. They moved furniture, cooked sadza, and tolerated the heat of the lights! The generosity and commitment of so many local people will remain the most moving memory of the filming.

On the set, it often felt like the Tower of Babel. We usually had a crew of 15, along with maybe 35 extras - and, sometimes, hundreds of onlookers. At one moment, you might hear director Alla instructing cinematographer Mko in Russian, while director David yells across the set in English, producer Joan gives notes to dancer Souleymane in French, line-producer Edwin argues with the police in Portuguese, and Nora jokes with the extras in Shona.... Camera assistant Warren has no time for words at all, as he passes like the wind, busy on his latest errand... Then Mko curses the sun in Armenian, and Souleymane recites a poem in Mooré – nobody can understand them... But somehow, miraculously, out of all this babble of languages a unified vision emerged - maybe because somewhere, in the middle of it all, there was always the language of dance."

NORA CHIPAUMIRE (choreographer)
Nora Chipaumire was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe during the Chimurenga Chechipiri, or second war of liberation, and has lived in the U.S. as a self-exiled artist since 1989. Now based in Brooklyn, Chipaumire considers herself a political artist in dialogue with herself, fellow Africans, and humanity: Zimbabwe is her focus and Africa is her center. MANCC Fellow, recipient of NDP Tour Support, and participant in the JANT-BI Diaspora Project in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, Nora akovganwas recently honored with the Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award. Winner of the 2007 BESSIE "for a towering, incandescent presence and for raising the bar to celestial heights in her full-tilt performances," she is the founder and artistic director of Company Nora Chipaumire. She is featured in the documentary "Movement (R)evolution Africa".
Choreographer's Notes:
"Dancing is for me a primal means of self-preservation/ self-assertion, self-determination: this is always the intention behind any and all the work I have created in my life. The method and process from the seed of a movement ideas/ the genesis of the ideas into rhythm and motion through space, is simple for the solo artist: the transformation onto a different medium, such as film is not so easy. The cross cultural/cross language/ cross gender/ cross generation/ cross genre/ cross continental collaboration that is "nora" was both exhilarating and challenging. I believe "we" arrived ultimately at an interesting apex of such a fusion of ideas. But ultimately a solo artist must return to the solitude that feeds her existence."

JOAN FROSCH (producer)
Joan Frosch explores 21st century artmaking through voices of often-marginalized artists and thinkers, including contemporary choreographers of Africa, the African Diasporas of Europe and the Americas. Joan's 30-year creative path encompasses making and directing dance theatre, writing, filmmaking and producing, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lilly Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, among others. She is Producer/Director of “Movement (R)evolution Africa” (2007), an award-winning documentary feature recently broadcast onZDF/TV (Germany). Professor of Dance and Co-Director of the Center for World Arts at University of Florida, Joan is founding member of The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium (TACAC).

Screenings (partial list):

For Movement (R)evolution Africa, visit this page.

© 2012 Movement Revolution Productions
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