NOWNESS • 間 MA — The Space between all things

The Japanese language has a gift for describing situations and phenomena rendered ineffable in the English language; such as the moon’s reflection on water, the therapeutic benefits of spending time in the forest, and sunlight streaming through trees. Inspired by…

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The Japanese language has a gift for describing situations and phenomena rendered ineffable in the English language; such as the moon’s reflection on water, the therapeutic benefits of spending time in the forest, and sunlight streaming through trees. Inspired by the beauty of the untranslatable, director Neels Castillon’s latest dance film explores ‘Ma’—the Japanese concept of the space between all things. ‘Ma’ is the comfortable silence that fills conversation; it is the invisible but discernible warmth between a couple; ‘Ma’ can exist in everything from flower arrangements to theater.

The project was shot during an ice storm in Iceland earlier this year with Paris-based dancer Fanny Sage and musician Awir Leon. “It was an obsession for me to find a place where you could feel the immensity of nature,” says the director. “I wanted the characters, Fanny and Awir, to get lost in the landscape, let them feel small, facing the elements.”

By foregrounding sweeping mountainsides and dramatic ice caves, Castillon brings the Japanese appreciation of voids and empty space to screen. Sage’s delphic movements are less about dance and more about how her body describes the void around her; Leon’s celestial vocals are not about melody but how he uses music to describe silence.

“The feeling of loneliness is what made me want to create this project,” says Sage, who has worked on both commercial and artistic projects as an actor, choreographer and dancer. “There is a contrast I love in Japanese culture which is a great source of inspiration to me— that emptiness and fullness can coexist. This is dance as it moves me: Fragility and strength.”

Angel Lambo, Nowness — June 17, 2020.

written & directed by Neels Castillon
original idea & choreography by Fanny Sage
music — ‘Wolf’ by Awir Leon ( courtesy by Alter K)

production company — Motion Palace

cinematographer — Eric Blanckaert
1st assistant camera — Kévin Rosé
sound design & mix — Yann Rouquet
editor — Neels Castillon
colorist — Arthur Paux
producer — Emilie Mallen
producer — Louis Arnoux
production manager — Kiljan Paoli
executive producer — Ariane Cornic
production coordinator — Sandrine Laveau
production service — Comrade Films
post-production — Motion Palace
camera and lenses — RVZ

written & directed by Neels Castillon

original idea & choreography by Fanny Sage
music — ‘Wolf’ by Awir Leon ( Courtesy of Alter K )
production company — Motion Palace
cinematographer — Eric Blanckaert

1st assistant camera — Kévin Rosé

sound design & mix — Yann Rouquet

editor — Neels Castillon

colorist — Arthur Paux

producer — Emilie Mallen

producer — Louis Arnoux

production manager — Kiljan Paoli

executive producer — Ariane Cornic

production coordinator — Sandrine Laveau

production service — Comrade Films

post-production — Motion Palace

camera and lenses — RVZ

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