Tereza Vejvodová Brings Back the Human Touch – An Outside View of Delimitation
Following its reception of the Grand Prize and the Audience Award of the Dance Film Festival (Festival tanečních filmů), Guest Critic Richard Pettifer (AUS/GER) takes a closer look at Tereza Vejvodová’s debut film.
Delimitation (Czech: Vymezení) is a kind of debut for Czech filmmaker Tereza Vejvodová, being her first short film (though following work for Pepsi and Nivea). It’s undeniably a filmmaker’s work – moving image and sound are its primary tools. This doesn’t, however, stop it being a significant contribution to on-screen dance, particularly through the choreographic contribution of actor/dancer/choreographer Markéta Jandová.
The film follows the apartment search of the protagonist in a non-specific “metropolis”. But from its first frames, movement and intimacy take centre stage – absurd interactions with urban architecture cross-cut to hands clutching at white sheets. A brief bump with a stranger flashes back to a moment of real, consensual, pleasurable contact. Inhuman encounters with real-estate agents are shattered by sudden bursts of impulsive movement. These (often humorously-depicted) vignettes weave into a comment on the terrifying absence of intimacy in the city, laying a platform for the film’s explosive choreographic finale.
There is something aesthetically transformative about Delimitation, no doubt born of a radical openness (Vejvodová describes the collaboration as “very close friends resonating with each other on a deep level”) and willingness to blend visual art, poetry, and dance. The camera develops and re-imagines beauty, with some shots evoking a canon of visual art, though set against the dreary urban landscape of Prague’s business district. The film’s primary occupation is with self-expression, and while the idea of dance as an outlet for something trapped that ‘breaks out’ is an old one, it finds a simple and satisfying articulation here.
The banalities of the apartment search contrast with the expressive, pleasurable movement, as Jandová whirls around, pushing and trampolining off street furniture, using the urban landscape as a (perhaps unsatisfying) partner. The outbursts are jerky and explosive, yet they glide gracefully, with a sometimes mournful nostalgia. It’s simple, strong movement, lovingly complimented by Vejvodová’s equally unwavering lens, gliding thoughtfully, as though to reclaim the pleasure of the body from a world mapped-out to choke.
That the film offers a choreographic answer to the problem of alienation positions it within the genre of ‘dance film’ as a truly innovative reminder, building on myriad aesthetic traditions, and re-asserting the role of dance in a world losing the human touch.
Review written during the workshop Writing about dance (in the Times of Corona), organised by Dance and Performing Arts Criticism in Europe, supported by EEA Grants 2014-2021.
Delimitation (Czech: Vymezení)
Script, direction and editing: Tereza Vejvodová
DOP: Dušan Husár
Producer: Sol Films - Anneta Furdecká, Armada Films, FAMU
Starring: Markéta Jandová
Music : Gian Baban
Quotes appearing originally in Sieben Fragen an Tereza Vejvodová - https://testkammer.com/2021/06/22/sieben-fragen-an-tereza-vejvodova/#english
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