A veritable film of the play May B, associated with a documentary which traces the lived history of its protagonists

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The project

 

 

A film in it’s own right, the cinematic adaptation of the choreographic work May B will be accompanied by a documentary that retraces the history and experience of the piece’s many different protagonists.

 

 

 

ORIGINS OF THE PROJECT 

 

For the last several years I’ve been contemplating making a real film out of the piece May B, something more than just another video recording, rather a film in itself accompanied by a documentary that would retrace the history and experience of the different protagonists who have been involved with the work over the years.

 

The piece and its long enduring history are inscribed in the memory of a moment in time, a moment in which different human stories have been swept along throughout the last 37 years, the births and death as well. The film is like a palimpsest of the sediment of tightly woven images and documents that evoke the slow process of superimposition, of restaging and repetition. To let loose the words and the voices of those who, both young and less so, have traversed the piece for the first time or the hundredth time. Of those who, from generation to generation and with each restaging, each performance and each new audience have made it possible for the part of themselves and their humanity inscribed and subtly intermixed with Beckett’s characters to emerge.

 

To intertwine the elements of the artistic work that goes on in close contact with the performers who make the work possible, is a task that can only be undertaken by a director intimately acquainted with my work, an artist capable of delicately conveying the experience itself. David Mambouch, my son, was born at the same time as the piece was created in 1982. He grew up surrounded by the company and is an actor and director, an author and filmmaker. In 2012 he directed a cinematic adaptation of the company’s new piece Nocturnes and in 2014 after our collaboration for the piece Singspiele, our mutual artistic understanding regarding our approach to the work became self-evident and has continued to reinforce the on-going dialogue that has ensued between us. Through his sheer proximity to the piece and its successive performers (having also performed in it himself in 2014) he is in turn totally inside and totally outside of the piece. All throughout his childhood he has watched us live and work.

Maguy Marin

 

                                                                                                                            

 

 

THE FILM

 

We are in 1981… Well, I am actually in the stomach of a young 30 year-old choreographer. My mother. Her name is Marguerite France Marin and she is the daughter of Spanish dissidents. People call her Maguy. For her next piece, inspired by Samuel Beckett, she has imagined a gaggle of grotesque elderly individuals, with embittered bodies and celestial faces. I was born a few months later in the midst of this unusual, clay-encrusted troupe. I spent my whole childhood under the feet of this stimulating and strange dance.

 

Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.” Such are the words that open and close the performance – and yet even to this day May B does not seem to be nearly at it’s end: thirty-seven years and seven hundred plus performances later the piece continues to bring the dusty beings to life, making it possible for this rag-clad expression of humanity to come and go, and never, it would seem, to fade completely away. Traversing memories and time, the piece reminds us of our own eventual departure, our dearly departed, our hardship as well as our ability to resist and begin again and again and again. The characters in May B first emerged in 1981 and have remained the same. I’m fairly certain that they will even manage to outlive us.

 

The Maguy Marin Company holds a place apart within the milieu of contemporary dance. Its evolution and the political standpoints it assumes demonstrate an engagement that demands audaciousness, courage and combativeness and the formulation of exemplary responses to universal questions that are currently particularly relevant. Today more than ever the company and its work implore us to consider the prime importance of taking care of our children and cultivating and sharing with the younger generations the autonomy that results from critical thought and from action, along with the desire born in effort and the joy of creation. How can we nourish ourselves through exchanges with others, through the primal energy generated through the act of “working together”? How to avoid resignation? How to take action?

 

There are gestures that help us to live” she said.

 

 

 

And so here we are in 2018… I have exchanged my child’s eyes for those of a camera. I slide my camera along the clay, filming the work from the inside, as close as possible to those who are presently responsible for passing it on. I am an astonished witness to the encounter, to the work in the clay, between the permanent dancers of the company who’ve performed the piece for thirty years and the students from the school founded by Lia Rodrigues – one of the piece’s original cast members - at the entrance to the favela in Maré, Brazil - or the high school students studying for a dance degree in Le Havre.

 

This piece has become a place in which experience and knowledge circulate between different generations. The dance becomes an expression of movement as political thought. And further, the various acts of transmission reach beyond the artistic context from which they originate and become examples of what is quite simply the action of sharing between human beings. Despite the social precariousness rampant throughout the world, this film reminds us of how we have the power take action and to what degree each existence and each story is precious.                                                   David Mambouch

 

DAVID MAMBOUCH

 

 

 

David Mambouch studied acting at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre before becoming a full-time performer with the Théâtre National Populaire. Parallel to his work with the theatre company, he also performed in films and on television and began writing and directing his own theatrical work while also collaborating on the work of others. He also continued to develop his work as a scriptwriter, writing and directing several short films such as La Grande cause, directed in collaboration with Olivier Borle. As a solo artist or in collaboration with such companies as La Katet Compagnie, La Compagnie Parc, La Compagnie Scènes, La Compagnie Zélid and Le Théâtre Oblique among others, he began exploring multi-disciplinary work in which theatre, dance, music and film intermingle. He also collaborated with the Company Maguy Marin, first as a director for the creation of the film Nocturnes and then as a performer in restagings of May B and Umwelt.

 

In 2014 he created the solo Singspiele in collaboration with Benjamin Lebreton and Maguy Marin. He also created the soundtrack for the performance.

 

 

MAGUY MARIN

 

 

 

Maguy Marin was born in Toulouse in 1951 and studied dance at the conservatory there before joining the Strasbourg Ballet. In 1970 she was accepted at Maurice Béjart’s school Mudra, where she stayed three years before becoming a soloist (for four seasons) with the Ballet of the 20th Century, under the direction of Maurice Béjart. A turning point would come at the end of this period seeing her shed all her previously held conceptions “allowing a multitude of creative choices, liberty and also constraints to emerge. Nothing was ever the same”. She also began questioning the body types idealized within the dance world, a subject that would become central in her work. “With Maurice Béjart the body was magnified. Youth, virtuosity, everything sparkled. And I had a problem with that. I asked myself what happened to all those other bodies, the ones that were infirm, misshapen or uncoordinated, but who managed to keep standing nonetheless.”

 

Between 1980 and 1997 Maguy Marin was based at the Maison des arts in Créteil, with her company becoming an official Choreographic Centre in 1985.

 

From 1998 until 2011 she directed the National Choreographic Centre in Rillieux-la-Pape. After which time the company once again became independent, setting up in Toulouse in order to continue their creative research. In 2015 the company moved again, this time to Sainte Foy-lès-Lyon, where they set up in an old carpentry factory. Their tenure there would allow them to continue to open up the immaterial space of that which is shared, something that obstinately seeks to make itself manifest while encouraging the unfolding of a new ambitious project: RAMDAM, AN ART CENTRE. It is a place of horizontal sharing, dedicated to hosting artists and audience members alike. It is also a place intent on facilitating an on-going exchange and continuous circulation between those conducting research, amateurs, students, spectators and volunteers; as well as creating bridges between different artistic practices, laboratories, places for public relations, education and reflection.

 

- 1978: Grand Prix du Concours chorégraphique international de Bagnolet

- 2003: Grand Prix de la danse du Syndicat de la critique for

Les applaudissements ne se mangent pas

- 2003: American Dance Festival Award

- 2006: Special jury prize Syndicat de la critique for Umwelt

- 2008: Bessie Award for Umwelt presented at the Joyce Theater

- 2008: Grand Prix de la danse du Syndicat de la critique for Turba

- 2011: Prix Danza & Danza for “Best Contemporary Dance Piece » for Salves

- 2016: Golden Lion, Venice Biennale

 

 

 

CHOREOGRAPHER'S NOTE

 

THE VITAL IMPORTANCE OF TRANSMISSION

 

May 1981

Like many of the companies starting out during the period of “New French Dance” and in spite of our precarious living conditions, we gave our time and enthusiastic energy whole-heartedly to our mad desire to be as free as possible. Our pages overflowed with the expression of our artistic evolution, which was firmly rooted in our own youthful existence, in our time. It was in the basement space we used as a studio in the the Church of Saint Roch in Paris that we worked to create May B, a piece inspired by the writings of Samuel Beckett.

 

 

Since that time the piece has never ceased to recede and re-emerge and through its stubborn presence has proved to be more than just a companion but rather a workbench whose many tools have been refined and improved over time. The recurring vision of the face of each performer is marked by a singular story, a unique life path. And even though we pass through the singularities of many different individuals, Beckett’s characters - created in 1981 - continue to haunt our work sessions by their troubling and repeated emergence each time the piece is restaged. These characters remain intact in spite of the fact they are incarnated each time by bodies so different from their own. The imprint of the multitude of the faces and bodies of the people who have traversed May B is inscribed in the very heart of the piece: stories of different lives, the births and the deaths, the abandonment and also the persistence.

 

750 performances have been given throughout the years and more than 100 different performers have danced in the piece. It has become a playground on which different generations cross and no matter the age or technical level of the participants the quality always remains the same.

 

With time it has come to demonstrate to us the importance of transmission through “doing”, through “seeing”, through “listening”: an active practice. Like the little ones troubled by the arrival of so many of these bizarre strangers during a run-through; or the vision of a father or mother who has become unrecognizable under their clay masks; the performers’ own children, abound in the acrid odour of dust mixed with the smell of a birthday cake and the sweat of their parents’ bodies – all these moments give rise to the first signs of one’s capacity to learn on one’s own by plunging with uncanny ease into the mass of ferocious and tender humanity; the ritornellos and gestures that have become familiar and also reveal the importance of long-term transmission, alive and incessantly reinitiated from childhood onward.                                                                                      Maguy Marin 

 

 

 

IMAGES FROM THE FILM / DIRECTOR’S NOTE

 

 

May B is one of the crucial through-lines in the film. I wanted to capture new kinds of images in order to generate a cinematic experience as close as possible to the bodies, the faces and movements so that the spectator may feel truly immersed in the work. A submersion in “the action” of the piece will communicate the sensation of the performer’s experience, their breath, their sweat and moreover the intensity of their gaze coming from behind the cracking clay they are covered with. By filming feet that trace pathways through the dust on the black floor and plunging the camera into the material of which the performance is made, the spectator is drawn into the very heart of the dust in which the dancers evolve. Numerous different performers have taken on the piece; some them have danced it for the last 37 years while others have only been working on it for a year or two. The impression of time past and the succession of generations that have traversed the piece becomes a palpable material in itself.

 

Of course we also filmed the rehearsals that took place during shootings at RAMDAM, AN ART CENTRE, an isolated place in which the company rehearses on the outskirts of Lyon. I wanted to show the choreographer today, at sixty years old, at work on a piece from her “youth”.

 

 

In the school Lia Rodrigues opened in Maré, Brazil we were able to capture moments of transmission with her Brazilian students, following them right up to their premiere in Lyon. They too had their turn with the clay under the benevolent watch of their elders and our cameras!

 

We also followed rehearsals for DEUX MILLE DIX SEPT, the latest of Company Maguy Marin’s productions, from the first days of work up until the last minutes before their first performance. It is a fascinating process, both rigorous and joyful.

 

Finally, of course, a number of excerpts from other pieces by Maguy Marin appear in echo – both explicitly and poetically – further evoking the concept of memory inherent in this present work. The testimonials shared by the choreographer and members of the permanent company constitute an account both choral and engaged. They help retrace a life of creation through a piece that is itself very cinematic and with fury and determination awakens a kind of insatiable resistance in regards to the human condition, barbarity, inequality and injustice.

 

 

FILM LOCATIONS

 

The largest amount of filmed material was shot at RAMDAM, UN CENTRE D'ART, the Company’s current home. This allowed us to capture the life of the troupe and the centre “in their element”.  RAMDAM, UN CENTRE D'ART is not however the unique backdrop for the film. We also followed the company to Toulouse, where Maguy Marin travelled with some of her dancers to celebrate her mother Luisa Calle’s 100th birthday. Luisa is a woman who traversed the 20th century fleeing war and also experienced first hand the refugee camp in La Boudronnée in 1939. Such experiences are in direct echo with May B. We also travelled to Brussels, a place of decisive passage for Maguy Marin, first with Mudra and then as a dancer with Béjart’s company. Finally, we also travelled to meet the Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues at the school she founded in the favela in Maré, near Rio de Janeiro. There we immortalised the act of transmission of May B in collaboration with a group of young Brazilian dancers who later travelled to RAMDAM, UN CENTRE D'ART.

 

 

 

Within the indifferent movement of cannibalistic societies, it has become clear to me how with each opportunity to plant the camera down and immortalise different forms of human exchange we are able to in fact capture priceless moments of transmission. In this light it would appear that perhaps memory, like art, is a matter for eternity.

 

 

THE PRODUCTION COMPANY

 

NAÏA PRODUCTIONS was founded in 2009 by Séverine Lathuillière and Philippe Aigle. NAÏA seeks to promote films that embody a reflection upon a world in accelerated mutation, and further, through the recounting of compelling stories, to share this particular kind of cinema with as large an audience as possible. Their projects all revolve around people who walk, who live, who run and who question their world.

 

NAÏA PRODUCTIONS produced the animated film ADAMA, which was released in movie theatres the 21st of October 2015. In the film twelve-year-old Adama lives in an isolated village in West Africa. Stretching out beyond the cliffs is the “the World of Breath”, where the Nassaras reign and the children are forbidden from going. When Adama’s older brother Samba disappears, Adama defies his Elders’ interdiction and sets out to find him. With the utter determination of a child on the threshold of manhood he embarks on a quest that will take him to the North, beyond the seas, up to the battle lines of the First World War. We are in 1916. The film, much like its central story, has followed a singular course and continues to contribute to establishing ADAMA as a unique yet universal work of animated filmmaking.

 

Other productions:

 

OUT OF EDEN (2014) is a documentary by Séverine Pinkasfeld that paints an intimate portrait of artists, capturing the joyful and agitated moments of the creative process. It is a powerful work about human experience and the times in which we live. OUT OF EDEN is also a love story centered on the couple Bachelot Caron.

 

 

CONFLIT INTERIEUR is a documentary about photographer Gilles Caron.

 

FILM CREW

 

Technical team

Pierre Grange, Philippe Vincent, Xavier Arpino, Marco Pascal.

With support from Coralie Verdier, Pascaline Manachère, Nathan Bouillard and Théo Perron-Bailly.

 

Performers in May B

Ulises Alvarez, Alice Béneteaud, Luna Bloomfield, Kaïs Chouibi, Laura Frigato, Leïla Ka, Daphné Koutsafti, Antoine Laval, Mychel Lecoq, Françoise Leick, Louise Mariotte, Isabelle Missal, Johanna Moaligou, Mayalen Otondo, Cathy Polo, Pierre Pontvianne, Agnès Potié, Rolando Rocha, Ana Rodriguez, Ennio Sammarco, Marcelo Sepulveda, Kerrie Szuch, Adolfo Vargas, Karin Vyncke.

 

 

Compagnie Maguy Marin

Alexandre Béneteaud, Laure Delavier, Léa De Saint Jean, Sathya Flory, Loli Hidalgo, Elise Remy

 

THE PRODUCTION COMPANY

NAÏA PRODUCTIONS was founded in 2009 by Séverine Lathuillière and Philippe Aigle. NAÏA seeks to promote films that embody a reflection upon a world in accelerated mutation, and further, through the recounting of compelling stories, to share this particular kind of cinema with as large an audience as possible. Their projects all revolve around people who walk, who live, who run and who question their world.

 

NAÏA PRODUCTIONS produced the animated film ADAMAwhich was released in movie theatres the 21st of October 2015. In the film twelve-year-old Adama lives in an isolated village in West Africa. Stretching out beyond the cliffs is the “the World of Breath”, where the Nassaras reign and the children are forbidden from going. When Adama’s older brother Samba disappears, Adama defies his Elders’ interdiction and sets out to find him. With the utter determination of a child on the threshold of manhood he embarks on a quest that will take him to the North, beyond the seas, up to the battle lines of the First World War. We are in 1916. The film, much like its central story, has followed a singular course and continues to contribute to establishing ADAMA as a unique yet universal work of animated filmmaking.

 

Other productions:

OUT OF EDEN (2014) is a documentary by Séverine Pinkasfeld that paints an intimate portrait of artists, capturing the joyful and agitated moments of the creative process. It is a powerful work about human experience and the times in which we live. OUT OF EDEN is also a love story centered on the couple Bachelot Caron.

CONFLIT INTERIEUR is a documentary about photographer Gilles Caron.

 

RELEASE DATES OF THE FILM

Application for the selection of the Venice Film Festival in September 2018.

Theatrical release in March 2019.

 

Why fund it?

The total budget for the film is 300,000€.

Several different partners and private donors have already pledged a contribution totalling 100,000€. Among them, Océan Films distribution, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris and Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Their support has permitted the funding of the first stages of filming.

To assure post-production costs we are still in need of 50,000€.

 

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Because of our prior experience we understand the difficulty involved in the distribution of feature-length documentary films in movie theatres and the importance of publicizing and promoting the project well before its theatrical release - from the early stages of production onward. Participative funding is a way for us to garner attention and support for the project and get it publicised before it is officially released.

 

 

 

Newest comments

Default-3
Bravo pour ce très beau projet!
Default-7
Avec vous de tout coeur pour ce projet extraordinaire. Longue vie à MayB!!!!!!!!!!!
Default-3
ça va marcher...May Be !!! Bravo pour ce projet au service de l'humanité en marche (danse!) Nous avons dansé, mon mari et- moi, deux extraits de May be avec l'assoc DENSITE d'Albi !!!!