Rob Ulitski - 10th Oct 2019

Dance-offs get dystopian in the superb video for Charlotte De Witte & Chris Liebing, directed by Fernando Nogari.

The video tells a nonnormative love story between two outsiders struggling to survive under absurd circumstances. Inspired by the dance marathons held during the Great Depression, it’s set up in a dystopian near future where a girl’s only option to pay her lover’s debt and save his life is to compete in an underground marathon where contestants dance until they drop (and probably die).

Lensed by Swedish DoP Erik Henrikson, who has worked on music videos for Beyoncé, The Weekend and Young Lean, the video was shot entirely in São Paulo. The visuals are intense and raw, treading a line between Mad Max and Gasper Noe's filmography, and the sweaty orange and copper colour palette lends an apocalyptic feel to the proceedings.

FERNANDO NOGARI: 

The track's repetitive rhythm strangely reminded of Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses Don’t They?

“When I first heard Liebing and de Witte’s track, the first thing that caught my imagination, beside its haunting atmospheric quality, was the minimalist words repeated throughout. Even though her voice is steady and calm it brought me a sense of surveillance and control. It made me think of the quiet oppression we live under nowadays when even the smallest and simplest things are turned into consumption and profit. Like the act of dancing.

"The nightmarish quality of the song reminded me of Jonathan Crary's 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. He states that capitalism pushed us into constant activity, eroding all forms of community and political expression. He states that human sleep is our last barrier, since it points to a collective refusal of world-destroying patterns of growth and accumulation. But what if our dreams get polluted by this constant oppression and end up becoming nightmares?

"The track's repetitive rhythm strangely reminded of Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses Don’t They? The idea of a dystopian dance marathon felt like a metaphor for Brazil nowadays, where unprivileged groups have to struggle and compete against each other until exhaustion, in order to survive in a system deprived of humanity. Endangered by the short-sighted behaviour of the rich man in power, their only option to survive is to fight.

"Like the main character in the video, being watched by people who bet against her, she must resist her bodily exhaustion and keep dancing until everyone else is on the ground. The subtle smile on her face at the end is a reminder that, no matter how oppressed we are, our capacity to love and dream is what will save us.”

Credits

DirectorFernando Nogari
ProducerFrancesco Colombo
Production CompanyIconoclast
Executive ProducerFrancesco Civita
Production ManagerAndre Bauer
1st ADLuciano Arturo
Director of PhotographyErik Henrikson
Focus PullerAlessandro Valese
2nd ACParvarti Louize De Caetano
Art DirectorCarol Ozzi
WardrobeAna Wainer
Hair & Make-upPatricia Martinelli
EditorRami D'Aguiar
ColouristHoumam Abdallah
Grading companyVelem
Director's RepresentationIconoclast
CommissionerKnxnt
LabelKnxnt

Rob Ulitski - 10th Oct 2019

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