BODY LANGUAGE was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2020 Experimental, Dance, Music Film Festival in Toronto.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Anouk Brouwer: We live in a world that seems to overly focus upon stereotypes like gender, class, sexual identity, ethnicity and skin color. I believe that human creatures possess one homogenous vocabulary. A language without words that we know how to operate before we even speak. In this system of communication, the body serves as the human instrument.
With this film I wanted to express my love for body motion and the different messages our instrument can send across. I wanted to visualise the power of the way we move our body in this complicated world. The moving body offers an unrelenting dialogue.
Overall, I wanted to express that without words, we can communicate everything. I am always focused on discovering innovative ways to look at the world around me, and I see that we, as the human race, tend to focus on what differentiates us from each other. I believe that body language can bring us back together.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
The process of making the film lasted three months in total. It was a crazy whirlwind rollercoaster ride, to say the least. From the moment I came up with the insights relating to the moving body, I instantly went into the actualisation mode.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
Experimental and introspective
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle I faced in completing this film was accumulating a team that understood the objective and philosophy behind the film. The shooting days did not consist of a script or tightly rehearsed movements, but about an emotional intention.
Not only Judith, the dancer, needed to be in the correct emotion, but the whole team needed to understand what feelings were being conveyed. This is exactly why all components came together so beautifully in the end. The bodily movements became aligned with the camera movements, the light, the sound, the editing and the art direction. One component goes hand in hand with another and that is exactly how a creative process should work in my opinion. Elements need each other. This is what makes a single objective so very powerful.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
There is no wrong or right way to interpret this semi-abstract film. Everybody can see something different in it. I found it absolutely heartwarming to see how people had such emotional and intuitive reactions to the film as this exactly what I am trying to do with my work. I want to make people feel. Seeing how the audience related to the character and gave comments relating emotion, feeling and empathy was thrilling for me.
Of course there is a specific philosophy behind this film, but I want to trigger the audience with maximum abstraction, allowing people to intuitively connect with the work.
Watch Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
The idea behind the film was originally inspired by the fashion industry and the ever-growing demand for consumers to relate to a fashion brand. Body language can become an embodiment of all brand-movements, being an outward expression of the values and objectives of a brand.
My philosophical fashion short film consists of three scenes, in which the protagonist finds herself in different environments, ultimately affecting the manner in which she moves her body. The three different settings are a metaphor for fashion brands, each embodying different values and objectives, changing the body language of the protagonist. The brands I was inspired by were (in order of appearance); Jacquemus, Gucci and Comme des Garçons.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
I am happy that there are platforms out there where young filmmakers like myself have an accessible opportunity to showcase their work.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards by Tame Impala. I am a great fan. I saw them live last summer and cried my eyes out.
A close second is Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
Yes. I am currently in Japan, soaking up inspiration and writing a lot. The new film will have similar artistic abstract features, but will tackle a whole new philosophy. It is going to be big, it is going to be emotional and it is going to be innovative. I am thrilled about the prospect of creating a film again.