Rise Up! And Dance (2014)

Rise Up! And Dance
Director: Barbara Gräftner
Writer: Barbara Gräftner
Cast: Vinzenz Wagner, Marjan Shaki, Lukas Plöchl, Larissa Marolt

Markus (Vinzenz Wagner) works hard on his family’s farm but his true passion is breakdancing. That is, until Romi (Marjan Shaki) arrives to stay at the farm’s guest rooms for a job. Markus feels drawn to her, especially when he discovers that she loves dancing too, albeit ballet. Despite several difficulties facing them, the two of them grow closer.

Rise Up! And Dance is being touted as Austria’s first dance movie. And while it follows the structure of a dance film, it is completely lacking in actual dancing. But honestly, that’s the least – even if maybe most striking – of the film’s problems. Because the rest is a complete catastrophe.


I love dance films. I watch pretty much anything I can get my hands on, and I don’t always need to get drunk to forget the usually abysmal plots and enjoy the dancing. Unfortunately in this case the plot was particularly bad AND there were no fucking dance scenes to ease my suffering. At least there was vodka.

But honsetly, I don’t understand it. Nobody of the cast was a great acting talent (so much so that the best one of the bunch was Larissa Marolt, who is famous because she participated in Austria’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here and has about as much acting prowess as your average middleschooler), but at least Vinzenz Wagner really does know how to dance. And Marjan Shaki is classically trained (though she was miscast purely due to the fact that she looks way too old for what the plot wanted her to be). But I guess no dancing (or dance scenes that show faces and feet in close-up but no actual dancing) is the best you can expect from a film that lets the breakdancer and the ballet dancer meet in the middle and thinks the middle is discofox.


But moving away from the (lack of) dancing, the rest of the film isn’t convincing either. The plot is predictable, clichéd and does so little with the stereotypes it uses, it seems like it doesn’t even realize that its using stereotypes.

When the film wasn’t nonsensical, it was cringeworthy – and sometimes it was cringeworthy and nonsensical at the same time. I’m just glad that we all won tickets to the screening we attended. Because having to spend money on the entire thing would have added insult to injury.


Summarizing: I could laugh about it all, but I think it was probably just my drunk desperation.


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