This video contains an overview of choreographer and filmmaker Wim Vandekeybus career with dance films and short fiction films, including many extras and featuring original compositions by David Byrne, Thierry De Mey, David Eugene Edwards, Marc Ribot and Peter Vermeersch.
“Silver” (2001 – 15′ – vidéo de danse)
“One for Sorrow, two for Joy, three for a Girl, four for a Boy, five for Silver, six for Gold, 7 for a Secret never to be told”
This Irish nursery rhyme was the starting point for the Ultima Vez performance 7 for a Secret never to be told (1997).
Silver is a dance video adaptation of the fifth scene of the performance. Onstage, a motionless figure wrapped in foil. Suddenly huge feathers fall out of the air and make the figure move. Gradually the other dancers appear on stage: complex partner work develops into an energetic and powerful physical scene.
“Inasmuch…” (2000 – 14′ – court métrage de fiction)
In this silent, atmospheric short film, originally part of the performance “Inasmuch as Life is borrowed…”, Wim Vandekeybus questions two of the most poignant events in the life of man: birth and death.
“Body, body on the wall…” (1997 – 7′ – court métrage de danse)
This short film was originally part of the monologue Body, body on the wall… (1997), written and directed by Jan Fabre for Wim Vandekeybus. Vandekeybus plays the role of a dancer whose body is manipulated by a female photographer. Chained to two microphones, Vandekeybus' body is painted by a woman, while in a tumultuous stream of ideas his body parts are grouped according to the body systems. In the film we see Vandekeybus dancing in an enclosed lavatory. All the alienating elements of the solo are brought up in a brief review. A visual demonstration of the issues dealt with in the monologue.
“Bereft of a blissful union” (1996 – 14'09” – court métrage de fiction)
‘If the stage is a fragment of mental space, as the choreographer Hideyuki Yano said not so long ago, one will understand that Wim Vandekeybus, far from abandoning all these images which slumber in him, will make them enter in chaos into the imaginary of the bodies, try to mark their mysterious trance, listen to their trembling. Besides film and screen, the stage of Bereft of a Blissful Union will be a place of projection, even through the bodies. Isn't dance, after all, the project of the dream?'
Jean-Marc Adolphe in the Februari/March/April '96 program of Théâtre de la Ville, Paris
“Mountains made of barking” (1994 – 15′ – court métrage de fiction)
This short film, originally part of the eponymous performance and referring to elements of Milorad Pavic's gruesome but poetic love story Petkutin and Kalina, sways between dream and nightmare. Mountains Made of Barking was shot in Morocco, in the birthplace of Saïd Gharbi, the blind dancer who inspired Wim Vandekeybus to make this dreamlike tale.
Wim Vandekeybus: “In September 1993, when we were looking for locations for the film for this production, I paid Paul Bowles a visit in his flat in Tanger. I told him that I was thinking of rewriting his story The Circular Valley and using it as a script for a short film, and wanted to know how he felt about this. He said to me, ‘Why do people always take the most difficult path… Maybe because it makes them try harder. It's quite impossible – the story is about the invisible. It's a mountain made of barking.'”
For this piece, Wim Vandekeybus continued exploring the elements that made Her Body Doesn't Fit Her Soul a ground breaking creation, while integrating them differently into the production. The non-sighted dancer Saïd Gharbi remained the central character and the magic of film was once again blended into the concrete world of the stage.
“Dust” (1996 – 3'30” – court métrage)
Three men enter the stage, undress and wash themselves. Not just a quick splash, they are scrubbing to the bone. A head hangs down high above them. It laughs devilishly; the rest of the body is missing. The men scrub, rub and scrape as though they want to wash out something that is a very part of them, their skin, their soul, and their madness. Suddenly, without a warning, the dirt flies off them and into the air. Just like that.
This scene was performed on stage in Mountains Made of Barking and filmed – in reverse – for use in Vandekeybus' following performance Bereft of a Blissful Union. In Mountains Made of Barking, the here and now are virtually absent. It has the temporal progress and the rhythym of a hallucination. Its logic is also hallucinatory: B does not simply come after A. Such everyday relations are torn out of context, turned upside-down, in reverse.
Wim Vandekeybus (Herenthout, 30 June 1963) is a Belgian choreographer, director and photographer. His company Ultima Vez is located in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Brussels). Together with Jan Fabre, Alain Platel and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Wim Vandekeybus has been responsible for the Flemish Wave in contemporary dance in the 80's. He made over thirty international dance and theater productions and almost as many movies and video works.