Music video depicts recovering soldiers and uses striking acts of dance to highlight their struggles
Caviar’s Cyprien Clément-Delmas, directs the latest film for Paris based, Thylacine.
An incredible dance of war, the striking film represents the ‘ultimate aestheticisation of violence.’
The idea came to Cyprien whilst he was researching a long form documentary project in the Ukraine. He comments, ‘I discovered this video of tanks that almost looked choreographed and thought wouldn’t it be incredible to have tanks that weighed several tens of tons, dancing.’
He adds, ‘it represented for me, how we try and sell war. I had the opportunity to film a few kilometers from the front line and a soldier told me that ‘the war is ugly and smells bad’. That stayed with me.’
The director had already worked with Thylacine on his video for ‘Mountains’ in 2015 and felt that ‘his musical and visual universe completely fitted with this idea.’ As it happens the artist didn’t have the right track for the visual concept when first approached but much to Cyprien’s surprise, came back to him having composed a track specifically for the concept.
There were, he notes, challenges in getting the project off the ground but ‘we found a bunch of highly motivated people in North London, that owned 80 tanks between them and were willing to perform the choreography for us.’
The project suffered delays and set backs, including the cancellation of filming permission just days before they were due to turn over but then ‘finally, there we were with dancing tanks, three Alexa minis and our idea was coming
He recalls that ‘it would take 15mins just to get the tanks back into place after each take but hearing the 1st AD shout ‘Action Tanks’ never got old.
Of course the flip side to these beautiful, dancing tanks is that in reality they cause terrible destruction. It was important to then shoot the documentary elements of the project, which illustrate the consequences of war. I wanted to juxtapose the fascination for these weapons of war with the devastating effects, in both a symbolic and realistic way.’
Whilst in the Ukraine, Cyprien discovered two dancers. He muses, ‘I wanted them to dance in a military hospital, where I planned to interview and film the wounded soldiers. The idea was to place them in a real space, surrounded by real people, patients and doctors, and dance as if it was the most natural thing in the world.’
He further muses, ‘I didn’t want to make another stylised and superficial dance video. The dance of Kate and Ivan was only a small part of the concept but I realised that this dance would be the heart of the video. It evokes the consequences of war, the fear of leaving for war, the pride of the soldier and the suffering of loved ones.’
Most importantly the Director concludes, ‘I hope the film will talk to people, touch them and make them think.’