Filmmakers run with the antelopes, cheetahs and more in “The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story,” a physically and philosophically provocative look at the ancient, threatened hunting practices of the San people, who have lived continuously in the central Kalahari desert for over 30,000 years. South African co-directors and brothers Craig and Damon Foster appear as determined to track their subjects as the hunters are their prey. Shorter vid version was unspooled at Santa Barbara fest, but longer, 75-minute theatrical version on film that already opened in specialty playdates in South Africa is doubtless the preferred version to catch, and its anthropological interest alone — along with amazing nature footage — should draw curious auds.
Account, told from p.o.v. of San hunter !Nqate Xqamxebe, shows him and two fellow hunters stealthily chasing four-leggeds with sensitivity toward the land learned from their ancestors. Pic frankly shows cycle of birth (a baby fawn born on camera), death and eating (the trio ceremoniously gobble a porcupine’s liver for strength), making recent laws limiting the hunting seem downright uncivilized.