Iterview with RIOT

Director Frank Ternier
Director of Photography Frank Ternier
Dancer Alan Page aka Junior coldboy, Waldo Pierre aka Junior Tiger, Suzie Babin
Composer Frédéric Duzan dit Zed
Country France
Animation Frank Ternier  Laurent Moulin Magalie Charrier

A black man is killed in an altercation with a vigilant neighbor and the police. The feeling of injustice is high. Emotion engenders riot …. In the absence of words, can the body take its revenge?

– Experimental Award at Fiver, International videodanse Festival in Madrid (Spain)
– Special mention for the use of dance and music to illustrate important societal themes, Festival Animocje(Poland)

Describe, in as many or as few words as you see fit, the genesis of or inspiration behind your film.
I’d wanted to make this film for years. 25 years have passed since the Rodney King Affair and yet the amount of similar incidents, or tragedies, is again on the rise in the United States, as well as in France, with the cases of Zyed and Bouna and, more recently, Adama Traoré. In light of these tragedies and sentiment of injustice, I wanted to tackle the question of how to speak about violence. The goal of the film is not to champion violence, but to ask at what point violent action becomes a legitimate means of resistance in the face of injustice.

What is interesting or intriguing to you about engaging with dance for film vs. dance for stage? Or, if you are coming from a film background and working with dance is a secondary medium for you, what drew you to wanting to capture and work with dance?
For Riot, the body and the dance are a means of strong narrative. That’s what made me passionate about making this film. in spite of the aggressive style of the dance, with its abrupt movements and the rage and anger sometimes evident on the faces of the dancers, it also represents «life» and all its «joy». The physical, bodily expression becomes a last resort in the effort to be heard, a last place to channel one’s anger. Considering the impotence of words to express anger, the body acts as the film’s primary means of expression. The choreography in the film was conceived to as an exercise of political thinking, a practice of confrontation, a step towards involvement. In krumping, I saw a powerful form of expression that allowed me to choreograph the outraged body in all its tension, thus giving power and tension to the filmic image. As the sequences of real-life footage unfold, the tension on the streets – of those who stand by without being able to say a word – will become embodied in the movement of the dancers. Krumping allowed me to question violence and craft a delicate regard on the gestures of these dancer-rioters (throwing a Molotov cocktail, beating, being beaten, standing up, having doubts…) Choreography – the dance – is a tool of incarnation and incantation, expressing doubt, reflection, and helping us to become aware of the body and its actions, turning a precise gesture into a beautiful one, turning a violent gesture into an action of both poetic and heroic import.
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