To continue the trajectory of Cool French Choreographers That I Envy, I am going to write a bit about a certain film by French choreographer and dancer, Boris Charmatz. I think the film was based on a live performance choreographed by Charmatz and another French choreographer, Dimitri Chamblas. It was directed by Vayssié Caesar in 2000.

I can’t remember exactly how I came across this YouTube video:

But when I watched it, I immediately became incredibly excited about the possibilities of film and dance. I had hitherto paid little attention to the medium of film but the more I realized that I experience most dance via the screen, the more I realized how vital it is to understand more about film and how it works in conjunction to humans and their bodies. (Seems obvious now, doesn’t it?) I then found the full-length version of this film (about 20 minutes, which if you have time I suggest you watch) at the very crispy, cool website of Boris Charmatz, over here:


Where you can watch the complete film and read more about it in the somehow poetic and amusing Google translated write-up. Boris Charmatz and his friends seem to be apart of a sort of a scene that developed in 1990s of really avante-garde, original French dance. I don’t know if this is historically or academically correct but I tend to lump Boris Charmatz, Jerome Bel, Xavier Le Roy all together in the same category of clever, white, Frenchmen who are making art that I like very much at about the same time and who have similar tastes.

What I love about this film, in particular, is the attention it draws to editing and sound as vital components of dance on a screen. Again, I know that sounds obvious but up until embarrassingly recently, I have only seen film as something that documents dance, not as something that makes movement and dance Really Very Exciting. How the film is edited directly relates to movement and the continuation or construction of movement and the music/sound/noise that comes with movement. Editing can draw attention to the many fascinating things that seem to follow the body wherever it goes.

The other thing I really love about most of these French choreographers, is their sense of humour. There are some quite-poignant moments of humour in this film and I like it very much. I like how the film gets going and then suddenly cuts short like the forgotten punchline of a joke. I don’t like how cold the weather looks and I always want to offer Boris Charmatz a blanket and some hot coffee. I really really like the movement vocabulary and think we should all try dancing like that at some point. I like it when other people, normal bystanders, watch Boris Charmatz dance and smile. I like it when he wears the Big Orange Thing because it looks just slightly warmer than the other clothes he wears.

I wanted to write more about the film, but you could just watch it. I think it is an excellent film. This is the type of film that I can show to my friends who are not interested in dance, but will be interested in this – and I like that, too.

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