Body cinema: Dance of Darkness by Edin Velez

August 11, 2009

Documentary film by Edin Velez on Butoh entitled Dance of Darkness (58 min) is probably known to all who were even partly interested in this enigmatic and strong Japanese dance form. The film covers historic development of Butoh but still stays in track of an experimental film, too.

dance_of_darkness.jpgExcerpts from film  Dance of Darkness by Edin Velez

It was screened and awarded at numerous festivals, among them:  Permanent Collection, Nagoya Museum , Japan – 1989; Best Film on Art Technique, Festival International du Film sur l’Art , Montreal – 1992; Ars Electronica, Austria – 1994; Montbeliard Video Festival , France – 1990 etc.

Edin Velez’s study of Butoh includes archival footage of early Butoh pioneer Tatsumi Hijikata, who is credited as the form’s originator. Kazuo Ohno, another early Butoh performer, is shown performing his famous “Admiring La Argentina,” and other works. Other companies whose works are shown include Akaji Mori’s Dai Rakuda Kan, Isamu Ohsuga’s Byakko Sha, and Yoko Ashikawa’s Hakutoboh. These examples reveal the depth and diversity of Butoh as it has evolved. Many of these dancers worked directly with Hijikata at some point and all speak to his influence, as they are interviewed about the art form. One performer, Akiko Motofuji, explains, “Ballet and modern dance spring from the earth…Hijikata created a dance, which crawls on the earth.” (synopsis taken from: Open Vault)

I know you are used to watch films in one piece at my cinema, but really… this is too valuable art piece to give attention now to this minor fact, don’t you think?!

Edin Velez: Dance of Darkness

The End

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