Nicholas Brothers: Stormy Weather

It’s opening day at the Tribeca Festival (June 8-19) and I want to take the occasion to plug one film they’re showing in particular.

I don’t usually get excited about modern movie shorts but I think you’ll instantly understand why this one jumped out at me (see what I did there?). The 20 minute documentary Nicholas Brothers: Stormy Weather is a fast-moving and fascinating deconstruction and reconstruction of the life, art and significance of the eponymous black dance team (see my post on them here) directed by Michael Shevloff and Paul Crowder. It covers a lot of ground, but the hub of the wheel is their most famous dance, in the 1943 Hollywood musical Stormy Weather, and a contemporary danced homage by Les Twins, identical twin black hip hop dancers from France whose very existence gives me a smidgen of hope for the world. This film is a wonderful melange of commentary by Savion Glover, Moses Boyd, Les Twins, and (archivally) the Nicholas Brothers and the late Gregory Hines, as well as historic dance clips, clips of Les Twins’ new dance, those of other dancers (like Glover), and even some filmed historic re-creations of the boys’ childhood in vaudeville. Naturally, the discussion isn’t only about art but about race, and as Glover puts it so well “the magic of a culture, the magic of a people”. That’s a lot of stuff but it’s not too much. Like one of the Nicholas Brothers’ own routines it crams something good into every single second.

I can’t recommend it highly enough. More about the film, including showtimes in the Tribeca Festival, is here.