Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Rhythm Is It! 2003

Directed by Thomas Grube, Enrique Sánchez Lansch

Germany In English and German with English subtitles
100 minutes 35mm


René Dame
Marcus Winterbauer


Dirk Grau
Martin Hoffman


Karim Sebastian Elias
Igor Stravinsky


Sir Simon Rattle
the Berlin Philharmonic
Royston Maldoom


Berlin, Sydney 2004


Rhythm Is It! is a stirring film about empowerment through dance and music, and it’s especially stirring because it’s realistic about the obstacles: the insidious way class loyalty and peer pressure can stymie aspiration in a kid. Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Sir Simon Rattle collaborates with choreographer Royston Maldoom in an inspired educational programme: a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with some 250 Berlin schoolchildren of disparate ages, races and backgrounds, with little experience of modern dance. While the better-heeled students grasp the opportunity to broaden their experience, rehearsal in a poorer school can be brought to a standstill by the chatter of a preening young beauty, too cool to learn a thing. Maldoom, a working-class hero himself, has an eagle eye for such self-limiting behaviour and a passionate belief in the power of the unlocked body to unlock the spirit. His conviction and perseverance triumph in the evolution of several young dancers – and in an exuberant, awesomely spectacular performance of the Rite.