Play it again


Play it again (video still)

Video, 2 mn 20.

The third section of the Ice series, Play It Again, like Pardon Me, Boy, features ice skating champion and Hollywood star Sonja Henie.

The video focuses more particularly on a group of acrobatic figures that the young athlete performs on ice. She strings together a combination of steps and pirouettes at a breakneck pace thanks to the action playing back and forth, considerably complicating her performance to the point of transforming it into an extraordinarily high-powered act. The figures performed mount in complexity at a breathless, inhuman pace in a dynamic strengthened by the music played by the orchestra, which is mostly kept off-screen, but seems to be pulling the strings through the music’s tempo, pushing the dancer to her physical limits. A comical effect ends up emerging from this ceaselessly increasing difficulty, which, alongside the ice skater, contributes to underscore the virtuosity of the video and the means used in its creation, voluntarily left more or less visible to solicit a technical judgment of the kind made in competitive sports.

While commenting on the accompanying music’s extremely motivating effect, which intensifies the viewer’s pleasure at seeing the performance of such brave feats, the work’s title proposes a reference to one of the most famous lines from Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca, shot just a few months after Bruce Humberstone’s film. Along the same lines as the film’s tension between love and duty, the freedom to embrace one’s desires and the obligation to follow a certain moral code – as well as the themes at work in Coming Out, the central film of the Ice series, which translates the exaltation of embracing one’s previously suppressed sexuality -, the acrobatic routine presents the materialization of a feeling of indecisiveness through its incessant back and forth, bringing its logics of reversals and, like in Curtiz’s film, going back in time, as well as what might appear as a final form of resolution.

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Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet