Last Sunday I was supposed to have an early night, but that plan went out the window the moment I came across Written on Water – the sight of a dancer I have admired for many years acting in a film made it impossible for me to switch off the TV.
Produced by Pontus Lindber (director of Danish Dance Theatre) and starring Aurélie Dupont (étoile and director of the Paris Opera Ballet), Written on Water (2020) is a sensual and philosophical interrogation of the permeable boundaries between fiction and reality, and the shifting roles we play in our lifelong quests to connect, love and inspire.
Alicia, a married choreographer haunted by what seems to be a past love affair, delves into her unresolved sufference to create a meaningful dance piece. Arriving at a run-down theatre occupied by a small company of talented contemporary dancers, she sets her intentions straight from the beginning – the choreography will be about unfulfilled desire.
The tension builds progressively as Alicia creates a delicate but sensual ensemble work. The movement is pleasing to the eye and the body language spoken through the steps relates perfectly to the storyline. The plot unfolds as Alicia spirals into an illusion, infatuated with the male lead dancer, Giovanni (Alexander Jones). Her fictional work seems to become a reality and she feels the need to confide in Karl (played by the producer). A layer of complexity is added, bringing an extra dimension to the exploration of desire in the film…
I thoroughly enjoyed the alliance of dance, cinema and philosophy. From a dancer’s perspective, I appreciate how the true to life rehearsal process is sustained throughout the film and I admire the expressive dancing performed by the cast. From a cinematographic point of view, I find that emotions are portrayed in a captivating manner by flowing effortlessly from the tranquillity of the dialogues to the powerful dance sequences.
Written on Water will definitely leave a mark. If you have 70 minutes to spare, click here to watch the film.