Achterland is the film adaptation of a stage production of the same name from 1990. The film was shot on the set of the stage production in the Rosas rehearsal studio. Achterland is a seminal choreography in Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s oeuvre. In this performance, for the first time, the choreographer gave the musicians a central position on stage and let them play an active role in the overall dynamic – an approach she would repeat in many subsequent projects. The unusual combination of György Ligeti’s and Eugène Ysaÿe’s music inspired De Keersmaeker and her dancers to create an original dance score with a delicate balance between energetic virtuosity and deceleration.
“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.”
International Film Festival Rotterdam