Thylacine 'War Dance' by Cyprien Clément-Delmas

Thylacine 'War Dance' by Cyprien Clément-Delmas
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Cyprien Clément-Delmas has undertaken a proper collaboration with the French electronic artist Thylacine to create an aesthetic interpretation of ultimate violence in War Dance. On one side, two of the ultimate weapons of war, the tank, are involved in a unique pas de deux. Meanwhile in a military hospital the victims of war enact their own dance. 

Clément-Delmas came up with the idea while he was researching a longform documentary project in the Ukraine - he saw a video of tranks that almost looked choreographed. Having worked with Thylacine on his video for Mountains in 2015, he went to him with his idea - to have these machines dancing. The musician did not have the right track - but then came back to the director having composed a track specifically for the concept.

Shot in the UK and the Ukraine, the result is a compelling and thought-provoking reflection on war, with real victims of the Ukrananian war featured alongside more lyrical elements. 

"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," says Clément-Delmas of how the idea came to him, while he was in the Ukraine. "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.

After approaching Thyacine, because "his musical and visual universe completely fitted with this idea" and then him composing the track, he says real challenges remained 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 to life. It would take fifteen minutes 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."

In the Ukraine, Cyprien discovered two dancers. "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.

"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.

"I hope the film will talk to people, touch them and make them think."

Credits

Director
Cyprien Clément-Delmas
Producer
Javier Alejandro
Production Company
CaviarCaviar website
Production Company
Garage Films
Production Services
Esse House Productions
Service Producer
Anna Zobnina
Executive Producer
Daniella Manca
Executive Producer
Oriol Uria
Executive Producer
Luciano Firmo
Director of Photography
Igor Kosenko
Editor
Edouard Mailaender
Colourist
Marc Matons
Post production company
Metropolitana
Commissioner
Clarisse Arnou
Label
Intuitive Records

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