Set on the bleak, sandy shoreline of Asbury Park Beach, Will Davidson’s latest fashion film stars three contemporary dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company in a compelling battle for dominance.
Filmed in Davidson’s signature moody style, there is a dark and ominous feel to the story. The dancers’ movements are emotive and dramatic as they perform amongst the natural surroundings. “The sensory feedback of the sand, the water and the wind inspired us to move with, against or consciously irrespective of those elements – a jumping off point creatively,” says White-McGuire.
We asked Davidson to reveal more about his contribution to this breathtaking collaboration
What was your inspiration and initial thought process behind the film?
I’ve always wanted to shoot a dance piece on the beach, even before we got access to the Martha Graham dancers. And the idea came from scenes in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Pierrot Le Fou.
What were your aims for this piece – to focus on the clothes or provoke a feeling…?
The aim with all good films is to provoke a feeling. If there is no feeling in the piece then no one will watch it and be interested in the clothes.
What mood did you intend the film to evoke?
I wanted it to feel like when you wake from a dream and you’re not sure if you are still dreaming. You go back to sleep and when you wake up it’s still there as a memory.
Was there a storyline?
A very loose one. I directed the dancers to be like two souls coming together and playing power roles. I told them to improvise a little, then when I saw what I liked in the movement we focused on that. I was looking for movement that was not conventionally "dance" like.
How important was the location?
The location was super important: I needed a dull looking beach; I wanted it to be as bleak as possible.
How did the dancers’ movements affect your edit?
Movement is great to edit to. Because their bodies move so well it was an interesting mix between letting the images breath and wanting to cut hard to get more tension.
What do you find most compelling about
the dancers in this film?
The way they are able to connect with an idea and turn it into movement. They respond to things in a totally different way. Dancers are open to subtleties. If you give them an idea they can understand it and interpret it, change it and make it visual.
Your filming has a great directness and natural quality to it, how did you go about achieving this?
It’s just the way I work. I think as a creator you are always changing. I can’t say that it’s unenhanced because all film is enhanced. The act of filming something is a way of enhancing.
Earlier this year you filmed a terrifying, climactic short for Dazed & Confused, is drama always an important feature of your moving images?
I think it’s right for some things. I was sick of seeing boring fashion films of people jumping in studios. Films need to be compelling.
What were your highs and lows of making this film?
The highs are being able to work closely with my friend Daniel Lea who did the score. Music plays such an important role in moving image. No lows.
Film: Will Davidson
Styling: Karen Langley
Original Score: Daniel Lea
Text: Lucia Davies
Models: Lloyd Knight, Heather McGinley and Blakeley White-Mcguire from The Martha Graham Dance Company
Hair: Shin for Redken at Frank Reps
Make-up: Sil Brunisma at Streeters