Monday, November 2nd, 2020

BARE : The Story of the Making of a Performance Piece with 11 Naked Men


It’s still hard to perceive that even in 2020 public nudity still evokes a torrent of negativity.  On one hand there are the juvenile reactions from people who left their teen years decades ago, and on the other hand there is still so much overwhelming out-of-place Victorian censorship . If you show more than a naked ankle on Facebook their narrow minded self-appointed expurgators will banish you and your FB page from public view until you recant.

It’s a regrettable situation that was part of reason why Belgian choreographer Thierry Smits developed a dance piece with 11 male nude dancers.  Smits claims that this work is depicting a world “overrun by right-wing and neoliberal” ideals, conflating the unabashed nudity with leftism. 

So Bare is a film by Aleksandr Vinogradov that documents the 11th month journey of  Smits creating ANIMA ARDENS from the very start to the premiere performance.

The cameras are there for the very intensive couple of days of auditions. Interestingly one of the dancers questions the fact that they are being filmed naked, and he is concerned what will happen with these images especially if he is not cast. It’s a sad indictment of today’s culture where nude images are so often crudely exploited without permission.

Smits ‘ballet” is strictly about male nudity which is unusual in itself and some of the pieces in it are very phallic. Others however switch from the masculine and in one of the most profoundly moving segments, he has the men giving their own concepts of a birthing experience.

The nudity is not intended to be either erotic or provocative but it does show the sheer beauty of the male form. It actually turns out that most of this diverse group men that make up the cast are gay.  This may (or may not) have added a level of both personal freedom and more   sensitivity on how they perceived their own nudity 

Kudos not just to the dancers and their sheer vitality but also to Vinogradov’s camera capturing so many close-ups that he wove into his beautifully edited film 

If there is a novelty at  seeing 11 naked men on the screen at the start of the film, that completely dissipates by the end.  It’s a celebration of masculinity that was a joy to watch

Posted by queerguru  at  11:55


Genres:  documentary

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