(Release Info London schedule; September 21st, 2018, Genesis Cinema, 21:10)
1996, it's just last night. Only they're no cellphones or internet. But the best of this morning’s music is already there. In France, "Daft Punk' releases their first record, 'La Haine' had just been released in cinemas, and the journal 'Hara- Kiri' is defnitively unable to revive itself. The Massacre of 'The Adepts Of The Solar Temple' is suppressed by the occult forces of the state. The film tells a sticky and haunting story. Selva (Sofia Boutella), David (Romain Guillaume), Lou (Souhala Yacoub), Emmanuelle (Claude Gayan-Maull), Gaselle (Giselle Palmer), Taylor (Taylor Kastle), Ivana (Sharleen Temple), Lea (Lea Vlamo) and Sara (Sarah Belala), a troupe of electro dancers, gathers in an isolated building to prepare a performance. After their last rehearsal, chaos erupts. Starting from a page-long outline allows to capture moments of truth and to convey in images this sequence of events collectively. If you want dancers, actors or non-professionals to express themselves physically and verbally in a chaotic fashion, improvisation is essential.
As for the dancing the dancers are free to express themselves in their own language, often very close to the unconscious, revealing their individual interior turmoil. In dance styles like voguing, waacking or krump, the participants display their physical prowess with a jaw-dropping spontaneity. With the very best dancers, this becomes particularly dazzling. The scenes are shot chronologically to generate both a state of general trust and a spirit of competition that drove the dancers towards ever-more psychotic performances. Contrary to more usual depictions of dance, in which every step is predetermined, to push the protagonists to simulate possessed states like those encountered in ritual trances. Although drugs certainly figure in the story, the idea isn't to depict altered states of perception subjectively through visual effects and sound, but on the contrary, to stick to an external point of view on the characters. To talk about dance is to talk about music. In order to respect the era in which the film is set, the music, whether electrifying or melodious, dates from no later than the mid-90s. Nourished by our multiple experiences of uncontrolled crashes and an atmosphere of delight, the improvisations of the dancers dazzled us.
There are sometimes certain events that are symptomatic of an era. These events explode, spontaneously or otherwise, until they reach the law enforcement agencies; some then become information on a major scale. They take on a new dimension; they're magnifed, reduced, misrepresented, digested or not by those who disseminate them and those who receive them. Lives, glorious or shameful alike, end up on paper, then quickly disappear into collective oblivion. Existence is nothing more than a feeting illusion that each of us takes to the grave. When we read biographies, everything and it's contrary is stated. It’s the same whenever any affair or a news story is revealed. And the new communications channels that have spread during the last 20 years have rendered all objectivity even more illusory. Humans, like animals, are born, live and die leaving no more trace than the smallest daisy in the middle of a feld. Joys and pain, achievements and blunders, occupy a virtual perception, a present that doesn’t exist outside their memory.
In 1996, a million stories hit the headlines, stories that are forgotten today, and tomorrow even more. Some of those born or alive that year are still among us. But of the great majority of those whose hearts have stopped beating, nothing remains; a name in a cemetery, or in an old newspaper lost in the depths of a cellar. At their most intense, the pleasures of the present allow us to forget this vast emptiness. Joy, ecstasies, whether constructive or destructive, act as an antidote to the void. Love, art, dance, war, sport seem to justify our brief time on earth. And there are those who dreamed of building a powerful and peaceful Europe while a barbaric war infected it's interior. Wars create movement, populations change, as do beliefs and ways of living. And that which is called God will always be there on the side of the most powerful gun. The comma may move, but the essence of the sentence will always remain the same.