“A Movement of Movement” – A Review

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Title- ” A Movement of Movement: The Essence of Pilates”
Director – Mark Pedri
Filmed – 2014
Format – DVD or Digital Download
Run Time – 72 minutes
Availability – Amazon, Ebay, Movement of Movement site and Pilates studios and websites
Reviewed by Christopher Roberts

“A Movement of Movement: The Essence of Pilates” is described as the “The First Documentary Film about Pilates. A Movement of Movement is a documentary film about the philosophy, lifestyle, movement, and world of Pilates. Told through the eyes of elders, world renowned Pilates instructors, and everyday people who have been transformed by the Movement.”

I purchased this DVD when it was first released and have watched it several times. Although I do enjoy this video, I find it to be less of a documentary and more of a series of on camera interviews with Pilates instructors and practitioners such as Jennifer Kries, Mary Bowen, Mareile Paley, Amy Taylor Alpers, Ken Endelman, I.C. Rapoport, Siri Dharma Galliano, James Crader, Eva Kauffman, Liz Ann Kudrna and a few others. Some of these Pilates instructors and practitioners I am familiar with, follow and am inspired by.

Although I do think this film is more for Pilates teachers and enthusiasts, I think there is enough here for a person new to or unfamiliar with Pilates to be informed and entertained. I actually recently watched this with my husband (who knows little about Pilates) who found there to be enough historical information on Joseph Pilates and the method to be interesting for a newbie. However I do feel it was lacking in more historical details and I really was really missing those.

Besides hearing the experiences of the teachers featured in this film, it’s strength really lies in how beautifully it is shot and edited. I find some of the most entertaining parts of the film are the segments of people practicing. They are beautifully shot and inspiring to watch, even if they are almost too long time wise. These segments inspire you to get up and move instead of watching others move on the screen.

The most inspiring segment is listening to Liz Ann Kudrna, who is in a wheelchair due to an spinal injury from hiking, talk about how Pilates can be great for a body after injury. It’s inspiring to watch her move and teach others.

While I do enjoy this film, it’s not what I was expecting. I was hoping for more of a historical documentary on Joseph Pilates and his method. While there are some great archival videos provided by Mary Bowen and a brief history of Pilates himself, I felt it was lacking in regards to the man and especially to his method. I did read an interview with Marc Pedri who said that he didn’t feel he was the person to dive deeper into doing a biography and historical documentary on Pilates.

If you are looking for a more historical documentary, you will be disappointed. I do hope one day that someone can do a more historical film featuring some of the archival photos, film and documents of Joseph Pilates’ life and creation of his method.

I would have loved to see more segments on Joseph Pilates and what brought him to develop this method. I would have loved to see more of an explanation of the method, the exercises and the principals. In fact, almost every piece of Pilates equipment is shown (including some blueprints and patent information from 1927 of a reformer) but never once are they really named or described.

If this had included a segment on the equipment, what they are used for, and the exercises themselves, it would have brought the theme all together of the movement and what makes it so special. I feel this is another HUGE area where this film was lacking. How can you talk about an exercise method and never really discuss the exercises themselves?

Also, I would have loved to seen interviews from other elders such as Lolita San Miguel. The only elder featured in the film is Mary Bowen. I do believe that I read somewhere that Pedri had planned on or did interview Lolita. Not sure if that is true, or why it never made it into the film.

Overall I think this is a film that all teachers should own. It really does a beautiful job of showcasing the method and why it is so loved by us all. It shows us how the movement has grown and will continue to grow. It is wonderful to see and hear the experiences of some of these teachers. It wonderfully shows people of different ages, locations and backgrounds coming together to honor Joseph Pilates’ and his method.

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