a film by Nancy Meckler
1996 | 94 mins | UK
›› Alive & Kicking - aka Indian Summer
a positive depiction of living life to the full.
Alive & Kicking by Nancy Meckler As poignant, as it is heart-warming, this life-affirming feature finally comes to DVD after seemingly an all too long wait.

And it all revolves around Tonio; a gifted but conceited dancer with the dynamic Ballet Luna who is determined that the probable demise of the company will not jeopardise his future. Yet its closure appears all but inevitable, given its ageing director is battling the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, coupled with fact that the dance troupe has seen its numbers diminished through the onset of AIDS, of which Ramon, Tonio's close friend, is now in the final stages of.

Only Tonio is also HIV-positive, a status that he refuses to acknowledge by throwing all his energy into his work, courtesy of the revival of their signature piece Indian Summer as a fitting finale. Yet just what is a boy to do, when one too many visits to his unconventional therapist Jack, forces Tonio to re-examine his life and career in ways that are closer to the heart, than he could have envisaged.

Alive & Kicking by Nancy Meckler Written by Martin Sherman of Bent fame, this is, in effect, a positive depiction of living life to the full, showcasing and in the words of Sherman himself: "a young and talented dancer resolving to live a full, courageous and productive life with AIDS."

To that end and as expected the cast do not disappoint, with Antony Sher and Jason Flemyng delivering compelling portrayals of a therapist dealing with AIDS patients and the HIV-positive dancer who subsequently becomes both patient and lover. And yet and inspite of the strong support work from Anthony Higgins as Ramon and Bill Nighy as Tristan, it is Dorothy Tutin who steals the show thanks to her moving performance of a lady affected by Alzheimer's, unable to fulfil her duties as the progressive loss of her mental faculties take their toll.

True, for some, this may well seem like a morbid scenario and yet it is anything but. For this marks a celebration of the very passion for life itself, namely that which keeps you alive and kicking; be it a passion for dance, or for love, or as here, a passion for both. Frankly, need more be said?
available on DVD as part of the Channel 4 Film catalogue
starring: Jason Flemyng, Antony Sher, Dorothy Tutin, Anthony Higgins, Bill Nighy,
Philip Voss, Diane Parish, Aiden Waters, Natalie Roles, Freddy Douglas,
Kenneth Tharp and Michael Keegan-Dolan.
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #039
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