A “one-reeler” entirely choreographed musical film directed By Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Thom Yorke.
In 2019, musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) invited Damien Jalet to imagine a choreographic response to his new solo album “Anima”. This was a follow up to their first collaboration on the film “Suspiria”, in 2018. Unlike their first collaboration, where Yorke composed to existing choreography already set on film, the idea this time was to see how the choreography could embody the songs and be the start of a new narrative. Working this time with leading American director Paul Thomas Anderson, the project took the shape of a 15 minute long “one-reeler” (a reference to the first silent comedic film which ran 12 minutes). The film discussions began with a concept from Yorke about workers whose “bodies don't work any more”, that are being “pushed by an invisible force”. The team wanted the first sequence to be “oppressive and hyper-precise so it feels like a machine”. References being dystopian fantasies such as “1984” and “Metropolis”. Jalet integrated a whole section of his piece, “Skid” created in 2017 with the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, whose dancers performs as well in this new film. Jalet was assisted by Aimilios Arapoglou, and Gabriela Cecena trained Yorke and Roncione intensively in order for them to dance through the entire film – sometimes on a 34 degree angled platform. The film was shot in in Baux de Provence, where Jean Cocteau filmed “The Blood of a Poet”, as well as in the streets and metro of Prague May 2019.
The piece premiered in Imax cinemas worldwide June 2019, and a day later on Netflix where it is still visible.
Nominated for a Grammy for “Best Musical Film” in 2020, Damien Jalet won the “Best Choreography” award at the UK Music Video Awards in 2019.