Co•motion Film Premiere

An inside look at the debut of Singapore dance group Co:Motion’s 13-minute film. An end of an emotional journey.

When Covid reached Singapore, many measures were suddenly created to reduce its spread. All social gatherings, which includes performances and competitions, were halted. Naturally, this caused disarray to local dance teams, who were forced to stop rehearsals and preparations for events.

Pushing through obstacles, local dance group ‘Co:Motion’ decided to bring their skills, training and love of dance forward with a 13-minute film that was released this month.

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Directed by Yu Siang and Deon, the friends-turned-dance crew planned, acted and danced in what was, to me, one of the most beautifully pieced films I’ve watched. I was lucky to be a part of the preview held earlier this month and have a chat with some of Co:Motion’s members to understand the process, experience and meaning behind the event and film.

Entering the studio space of the Chinese Cultural Centre was refreshing. After 2 long years of the pandemic and the restrictions that came along with it, being around a larger group of people was something I looked forward to.

Co:Motion member and choreographer mentioned in our interview, “I think for all the people that came for our event, it might be very rare for them to see each other and have a designated time to talk and connect, and especially talk about dance”. Indeed, the ten to 15 minutes before the screening allowed me to reconnect and catch up with friends I have not seen for a while. Being around people I knew made me feel comfortable to fully immerse myself when the film started. And it was an event that I truly enjoyed.

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The film starts with the main character, played by Yu Siang, coming home from a long day of work. As he goes about his routines, silhouettes of the group’s members appear in brief moments with short dialogues to slowly give the viewers a sense of the situation. Eventually, we realise that it represented the thoughts in Yu Siang’s mind. Part of me also felt that perhaps it could be conversations he may have had in real life being depicted in this scene.

Moving forward, the story follows through what I interpret as the journey inside Yu Siang’s mind as he navigates through the endless struggles in his head. According to Yu Siang, the group wanted to “leave it (the film) for very, very open interpretation” and that there was beauty in that. “Nothing specific la, there’s a general note that everyone gets, but it’s up to you on what impacts you most,” he added.

Apart from the storyline, I appreciated the lighting and sound design in the film. The earlier part of the film was approached in a way you would expect a horror or thriller genre of films would, and especially for these two genres, the sounds and way of videography play a huge role in bringing out the mood of the scene.

Directing the videography and sound design of the film are members Sue and Yi Hng, who did a phenomenal job. When asked on it, Yi Hng mentioned he had fun and felt motivated to push forth the use of sound design in more dance films in Singapore.

Throughout that whole scene, I was trying to put a finger on what was making the environment so eerie. Afterwards, Yi Hng mentioned that the absence of sound allowed them to take a more unconventional approach to create a tense moment instead of going through a “safer route” and using sound effects. In addition to that, scenes showing a darker theme were mashed with classical music, creating extra eerie vibes to the whole showing.

In terms of videography, I liked the visuals and camera angles used to highlight certain characters, plots and movements. I feel like I have always been safe in my choices of angles for my own videos, and this screening definitely inspired me to try something new in the future!

Shot with FIMO EK 80.

Post-film session.

All in all, I enjoyed my time at Co:Motion’s film screening hosted. From the environment to the film and the post-film activity, they did not fall short. I was a fan of their work when I saw their piece for Arena, and I became a fan again after watching this film. I can’t wait to see what Co:Motion has in store in the future!

Watch the full film below.

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Find out what else is happening in the dance scene here.

All film stills courtesy of Co:Motion.


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