CODA is the aptly named visual accompaniment to the final 11 minutes of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Despite the majestic soundtrack to Denis Poulin’s TIFF submission, the contemporary choreography and effects are the most captivating parts of this short.
It’s hard to imagine a short film exclusively focused on a single song and a mostly solitary dancer managing to hold my attention for over ten minutes, which is why CODA came as such a surprise. The dancers are etched only in the elements that make up their shifting environment, as neon rain bounces off their muscular, moving bodies before it transitions into the popping embers of fire, shifting colour and texture throughout. But mostly it’s how the lead dancer endures even as his companions rise and sink out of the sea or get burned up in a swirl of red. There’s a theme of renewal as he disintegrates and rises again, first and last, much the same way the trees endure the winter and rise again in spring.
Visually, the silhouettes are stunning, and I even had some fun throwing on a pair of 3D glasses to see what it would make of Poulin’s shifting colours, letting the metallic sheen play up the simulated, yet real markings that delineate our mysterious dancer.
CODA premieres as part of Short Cuts Programme 1 on Friday, Sept. 5 at 9:15 p.m. (TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2). It also shows Sunday, Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. (TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 4 – Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema).