Winter at Westbeth (PG) is proof age is not an impediment to conjure and communicate new expressions of humanity every day.
Westbeth is a public house project for artists located in the West Village of New York City. The defining rule is you live here because you create. It is home to many and three of the residents are revealed in the feature documentary. The film’s narrator and poet Ilsa (82), former dancer now film maker Edith (95) and Dudley (75) a renowned dancer who doesn’t want to stop.
Rohan Spong (director) captured these three residents in all their joy and pain while celebrating the very human desire to be alive and feel alive.
To me the core of the film is about connection. How Ilsa, Edith and Dudley moved through the world they inhabit, found love and a way to communicate their thoughts, politics and feelings through art.
The documentary isn’t just about showing the three in situ, or their heydays. Rohan’s presence allowed them to create collaboratively with him and each is able to make something new for themselves and the documentary in so doing elevating it beyond the normal presentation of film subjects.
Winter at Westbeth is the weaving of art, life experience, movement, fun and above all the understanding that as life creeps closer to end the person does not become less of a human being. They glow.
Winner: 2016 Metropolis Special Jury Prize