Celia Rowlson-Hall makes her minimalist widescreen feature debut with the limber, challenging delirium “Ma,” a modern-day telling, entirely in movement, of a nimble variation on the story of Mary in a Southwest of deserts and highways and Oldsmobiles and motel beds and swimming pools and a dusty pilgrimage to Vegas or Hollywood.
Bringing her experience of choreography and performance to the screen, over the past few years Celia has written and directed over fifty short films and videos. “I pressed my ear to the ground,” Rowlson-Hall writes of her heroine’s journey. “I wanted to listen and extract what all those women dead in the earth had to say. I set out to tell their untold stories.” Rowlson-Hall hallucinates a succession of tableau and tactile images, rhythmic writhing, gender bending and ecstatic postures. With Andrew Pastides, Amy Seimetz. 81m. (Ray Pride)
“Ma” opens Friday, January 13 at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)