Media Reviews


“DANCES OF ECSTASY is enthralling in its evocation of a mental and physical release that most of us long for”
The Age, Australia

“The film provides a rare insider look into seldom seen rituals. It makes for a compelling ride that replicates the flow and force of the experiences it documents.”
LA Weekly

“DANCES OF ECSTASY’S strength lies in the reminder that, as spiritual beings having a human experience wherever we go there we are” the human quest for revelation. Healing and enlightenment is a shared one and confirms that geographically divided as we are, we’re ultimately seeking the same thing. Wholeness”
Groove radio, LA

“Rich imagery, gorgeous music and velvety narration make for an unparalleled sensory experience.”
Citybeat, Los Angeles

“Moments of spiritual clarity and inspiration frequently occur in the houses of the holy. Great cathedrals, filled with works of art created in praise of God, resonate to the sound of glorious music wrought by history’s most illustrious composers. Moments of equal intensity occur under a clear sky upon red dirt with nothing but the wind to witness them, as Nyirlpirr “Spider” Snell takes members of his clan through an ancient ritual at a sacred waterhole some four days of difficult driving from Fitzroy Crossing in the Great Sandy Desert. They’ve come to communicate with their ancestors through KURTAL THE SNAKE SPIRIT who inhabits the jila a “live” water source in the wilderness. The ritual is simple in essence but as the doco by Nicole Ma and Michelle Mahrer proceeds, it assumes a contagious intensity that is hard to resist. Vibrant colours, the dance, the land and the Wangkatjungka language fuse in a mystical mirage which blurs the boundaries between past and present, life and death. This is a deceptively affecting doco which promotes a simple truth: “Your father is your country.” No cathedrals, no banners, no jingoism or parades. Affirmation is enough identity is everything.”
Doug Anderson, Sydney Morning Herald

“A new arts documentary achieves rare distinction. URBAN CLAN is a must see.”
Lee Christofis, The Australian

“URBAN CLAN with its layers of media images and personalities crystallises the Page’s dance into a mission which comes across as important, interesting and amazingly pure.”
Karen Pearlman, Real Time

“URBAN CLAN was devised not just as a film about art, but a film which is art. It tries quite successfully to push the line between documentary and artistic film making.”
Karen Pearlman, Real Time

“The collaboration between director Michelle Mahrer and choreographer Bernadette Walong uses cinema to envision the unseen. The cellular connection of sentient bodies and elemental nature permeates the layers of RIVER WOMAN. The glowing images are of symbiosis—dissolved and superimposed minerals, flesh, water, light and movement disintegrate and re-form in cycles that speak to the grains of time, stone, earth and air in our own bodies.”
Karen Pearlman, Real Time