A première of a dance production is the start of a long process of maturation. Achterland had its first performance in late November 1990, the film was only shot in the summer of 1993.
The chairs on the stage are striking, a trademark for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, just like the stern suits of the women, who also dance on high heels. On the grand piano, Rolf Hind plays Études for piano by Gyorgy Ligeti. The virtuoso performance activates the action: fragments that are danced in turn by five women and three men. The women look like self-assured businesswomen, the often uncomfortable men copy them, begging for attention as they dance, but they never have real contact.
De Keersmaeker makes her choreography more profound with pure cinematography, through the fight between light and shadow, the urgent camerawork, juxtaposed tight travellings and ultrashort movements. The precise camera and the stunningly precise cutting isolate and eroticise the body parts that awaken our interest with playful fetishism.
Achterland is not only a great dance film, but it also has such a degree of cinematography that it puts most ‘real’ films in the shadow. In the difficult genre of film choreography, it immediately puts itself in the top rank, in the company of illustrious classics such as The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and the exuberant ballet as the finale of An American in Paris.


Director
Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker
Country of production
Belgium
Production Year
1994
Festival Edition
IFFR 2008
Length
84'
Medium
35mm
Language
no dialogue
Producers
Kees Eijrond, Eric Kint
Sales
EYE Film Institute Netherlands
Screenplay
Anne van Aken
Cinematography
Louis-Philippe Capelle
Editor
Ludo Troch
Sound Design
Dirk Bombey
Music
György Ligeti, Eugène Ysaye
Cast
Johanne Saunier, Fumiyo Ikeda