The COVID-19 pandemic has brought along with itself numerous other crises. Financial downfall, inequality in health care and education and a new scourge of mental illness and heightened anxiety. It is difficult enough to put into words how this pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, nevermind articulating its tragedies through dance. However, dancer and choreographer Vincent Mantsoe along with musician Mpho Molikeng and filmmaker Frank Pizon, have been able to reach deep into the raw and fragile emotion of the moment with their exquisite 13-minute short dance film, Cut.
Mantsoe had been due to return to South Africa from France in April 2020 for a series of shows at the Market Theatre in Newtown. But that was not to be, due to the extended hard lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Determined to somehow still reach his home country, Mantsoe devised Cut - a gripping and telling dance piece that explores;
"The experience of living with the imminent danger of infection and the derived consequences of the ongoing pandemic, such as quarantine, social distancing and self-isolation...The visual composition captures the experience of being torn between extreme poles of opposition, and of struggling to resist the emotional weight of a self that may give in to the anxiety of the situation. Cut articulates some of the many contradictory emotions in these disturbing times. These emotions pull us apart, but also makes us gravitate towards one another."
Cut was choreographed for camera, a rather daunting task for an artist used to devising work for the stage. The piece was filmed in Mantsoe's studio and edited at a distance by video artist, Frank Pizon. Mantsoe's movements were then crafted to multi-layered music performed by Lesetho-born musician, Mpho Molikeng. The three artists collaborated remotely and virtually throughout the creative process, exchanging thoughts, sounds and images by email - a first for all of them!
One might imagine then that a film created in isolation by three artists may be disjointed, as each wove their creative imaginations onto its bare fabric. In some ways, this is true. Cut does not feel like a synchronous piece of art, developed in utter harmony. But perhaps this is the beauty of it. At this moment where most of us are conducting our lives through screens and virtual existence, there is very little that makes sense.
Part of the anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic is the isolation, not only from other people, but from ourselves. Mantsoe captures this inner conflict in his rapid and precise movements, thrashing about and seemingly displaying an intense internal argument. Coupled with Pizon’s clever editing, Mantsoe becomes a figure trapped within his own space. The frame almost haunts him, as he retreats around the room in search of an escape. Growing wearier with each step as the dance wears on, with Molikeng’s music fading away into the background, he breathes deeper and deeper. This fight for breath is deeply symbolic, invoking a primal fear indicative of this moment - to be infected with the virus, to fight it alone and to not have the ability to breathe.
Even after Mantsoe has taken his last steps out of the frame, this sound sticks with you. Even at its relatively short length, Cut manages to leave this lingering impression. Is it the raw humanity in Mantsoe's movements, his physical articulation of something words cannot express or something much more intrinsic? You'll have to watch the film yourself to find out!
Thursday, 18 June 2020 - Thursday, 02 July 2020.
The film is free to stream.
Visit The Market Theatre website for more information.
It could have been an ordinary day the cafe, but it was love at first sight instead. Seduction, awkwardness, dance, misunderstanding … This is an extraordinary day for these two characters, who humorously carry the spectators in a dreamlike, absurd and tender universe.
The Market Theatre presents Derrière la Porte or Behind the Door this September. Starring French circus duo Marion Achard and Farid Abed, this is a must-see for audiences of all ages.
Sunday, 15 September 2019 at 15:00.
The Market Theatre (John Kani stage), 56 Margaret Mcingana Str, Newtown, Johannesburg.
Tickets are free, but you must pre-book to reserve a seat. Contact the theatre on 011 832 1641 to RSVP.
Visit their website for more information, or follow them on social media:
Instagram - instagram.com/markettheatre
Twitter - twitter.com/MarketTheatre
Facebook - facebook.com/themarkettheatre
Email: [email protected]
Two Saturdays per month the French Institute of South Africa and the Alliance Française of Johannesburg host a free French film screening for the public. This July, they invite you and the kids to come along for Claude Barras'stop-motion animated masterpiece, My Life as a Zucchini.
After his mother's disappearance, Courgette is befriended by a police officer Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster home filled with other orphans his age. At first he struggles to find his place in this strange, at times, hostile environment. Yet with Raymond's help and his new-found friends, Courgette eventually learns to trust and find true love.
This charming French film will tug at your heart strings. Filled with poignant moments of raw honesty, My Life as a Zucchini is not a typical children's film. Grappling with the harsh realities of an orphaned childhood, this is exactly the kind of film audiences should be flocking to. It is highly intelligent and will stay with you for a very long time. Definitely worth a see. There are English subtitles too, so don't worry about studying up on your French. Plus, the kids will especially enjoy watching the movie on the comfortable bean bags in the cinema loft.
Saturday, 20 July 2019 at 11:00 - 12:10.
Entrance is free!
For more information, visit this website. Follow the Alliance Française of Johannesburg on social media for further events and updates:
Contact them on 011 646 1169 or via email at [email protected]
To see more events like this, click here.
What Is It?
Le Movie Club is a collaboration between The Bioscope Independent Cinema, The Alliance Français of Johannesburg and the French Institute of South Africa. On the last Thursday of every month, immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures of French and Francophone films from around the world. This month's feature is the film Maestro, a film about a young actor who finds himself involved in a film by a cinema superstar. He gets charmed by his good-nature and develops feelings for him.
This s night a night to sit back and enjoy French film, with some pizza and beer.
When Is It?
Thursday, 25 October 2018 at 19:30
Where Is It?
The Bioscope Independent Cinema, 286 Fox Street, City and Suburban, Johannesburg
How Much Is It?
Tickets cost R35 per person and can be purchased here.
A pizza and beer combo can also be purchased for R102 per person.
For More Information?
For more information, visit The Bioscope website here.