Tremor, Corps Atypik: Shaking the foundations

Shaking the foundations

Tremor: What started out as a doc became an art film
Photo: Donald Robitaille

Corps Atypik's Tremor helps redefine our understanding of artistic expression

When Marites Carino first approached dance movement therapist Joanabbey Sack about attending one of her classes for Parkinson’s patients in the view of making a documentary, the pioneering instructor indicated politely, but firmly, "You can’t just sit around." In the end, Carino – a dance writer, filmmaker and former dancer – didn’t need to bust out her moves. Instead, she strived to understand the potential of what would develop into a startlingly touching and transcendent film.

Tremor is featured in the Corps Atypik event, produced by Tangente, Usine C, Studio 303 and the Gesù, and serves as a glimpse into the lives of courageous people living with the chronic and debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. It also redefines our understanding of artistic expression. (Common factors of the disease include cluttered speech, tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity and balance problems.)

With every visit she made to the dance studio, Carino became closer to her subjects. "They’d be milling around the room using their hips to move their legs." Shuffling, she says, serves as camouflage for Parkinson’s patients. "These people are always trying to hide their tremors."

The intrepid filmmaker also broke through their reticence. "’Why would you want to film us, a gang of freaks?’" she says they asked at the start. Carino proceeded slowly, one step at a time, filming one week, then showing the group footage the next. "Many of them didn’t have artistic backgrounds, and they didn’t think symbolically. Yet they began to generate lots of ideas."

It’s been a banner year for Carino, with another entrancing short art film showing in the upcoming FIFA festival. Hoop features young hula-hoop sensation Rebecca Halls, but it’s the film’s aesthetic qualities that are the centrepiece: The infinite sense of black and the juxtaposition of Halls’ very white skin is extremely effective, and director of photography Donald Robitaille’s achievement of both weightlessness and a floating quality is breathtaking, as are the superb spiralling hoops – Halls gives a lovely, controlled performance.

Tremor, Corps Atypik

At Tangente (840 Cherrier), March 17-20

Hoop, part of FIFA, March 17-27

Screening info: www.artfifa.com

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