“MA” Film Review: A Choreographer Saves Herself With This Film

by Laurie Henzel


MA is beautifully surreal experimental film written, directed and performed by choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall (Pantsuit Nation Flash Mob, GIRLS) that uses gesture and image (no dialogue) to tell the story of one woman’s traumatic pilgrimage of self discovery. Rowlson-Hall invents her very own deeply personal visual language through movement, iconic imagery, and a haunting score (by Brian McOmber) creating a moving and original experience. Think The Virgin Mary goes on a road trip to Las Vegas. At times, the movie feels like a dream, at other times a nightmare.

Using religious iconography and contrasting it with highly performative female archetypes, Ma is left open for interpretation, but I saw it as a comment on being female, and society’s expectations surrounding sexuality and motherhood, but hey that’s just me! Others would probably see other meanings, but that’s what’s cool about art.

I saw the film this weekend, followed by a Q+A with Lena Dunham, and was very moved to hear Rowlson-Hall speak of her rape as being the catalyst for making this movie, and her process of using art to heal. It’s amazing to see an artist take their inner turmoil and turn it into something so outstanding. This is a small budget indie film, but we’re hoping it gets the recognition and the audience it deserves. It’s playing in NYC at IFC until Jan 19th, so if you are in town, please go see it and support female made independent film.

In Theaters

January 13th to January 19th, 2017
IFC Center
New York, NY
click here for info

January 13th to January 19th, 2017
Facets Multimedia
Chicago, IL
click here for info

January 30th, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
click here for info

February 11th and 12th, 2017
Northwest Film Forum
Seattle, WA
click here for info



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