Analysis of Pascal Magnin’s Reines d’un Jour

Pascal Magnin’s   Reine’s D’un Jour is a beautiful piece of dance film due to its organic nature and honest quality of movement. The techniques used in filming the piece are conducive to the latter qualities. At the beginning of the piece, the cameraman makes the audience feel as if they were tumbling down the hill right along side the dancers, by speedily following their rolls then abruptly stopping when they do, rather than showing them roll in a wider, still shot.

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View of party guests beneath dancers in Pascal Magnin’s Reines d’un Jour to emphasis the public nature of the work

These shots were panoramic to emphasize gravity’s pull on the movement. Right after this camerawork that worked with the natural tendencies of movement, a clip of a man jumping was made

slow motion, suspending him in the air. This was the one clip which had its speed manipulated. The audience member might interpret it as a reminder that the reality one knows is fragile. The costumes are equally organic, as all the dancers wear greens and browns. This starkly contrasted with the many party goers wearing a plethora of colored garments. Shots of partnering are typically done with handheld cameras and follow the movement close up in a shaky manor to illustrate the intensity of the physicality and intimacy in the partnering.

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Image of dancers behind the barn and the horse to emphasis the private nature of this encounter despite this piece being shot in a very public real time situation in Pascal Magnin’s Reines d’un Jour

There are many narrative elements of this piece. All elements besides the dancers (cows, shepherds, children, partygoers, etc.) serve a narrative purpose, while the dancers demonstrate the deeper meaning behind their activities. The camera also often focuses on boots and people walking in and out of them. It focuses on the feet and makes a point to note that these feet are endowed with shoes, when wanting to emphasize the gritty nature of the movement.  Use of party guests in the lower halves of the shot function to remind the audience of the public setting of the movement and that this piece isn’t an isolated work. In contrast, there is also the scene with the man and woman partnering seemingly behind a horse and a barn, to show the contrasting private intimacy of the moment.

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Inclusion of boots and feet emphasis the organic nature of the dancing,. A visual representation of it being “down to earth” Pascal Magnin’s Reines d’un Jour

The shifts between shots grow quicker and cleverer when the dancers begin tossing the bottle back and forth. Accordingly, the music picks up as well. This adds a fun, upbeat quality to the scene. Directly after, the entire pace of the piece slows down. The next scene is one slow continuous shot of the man getting blown past guests as the party table, to say that the fun lighthearted part of the party is effectively over. The camera dolly tracks in a circular motion around the dancers do-see-do-ing, thereby leaning into the circular nature of the movement and making the audience feel as though they’re a part of it.

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Final scene of Pascal Magnin’s Reines d’un Jour

The final scene is the dancers on the water. They are first shot walking into the lake from the front at eye level to show their full reflections on the lake. The shot then shifts to being of just their feet to show the transparency of the water. Next, the shot is of the dancers moving from the surface level from the side to show the ripples of water as result of their movement. This entire shot has darker lighting to emphasize its somber nature. The shots at surface level also make poignant the lights reflecting off of the water. Water is symbolic of rebirth and the medium of film allows locations and props like water or lakes to become a reality in a creator’s work.



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