Amsterdam, 2020-05-05 - Freek Zonderland
ZUSSEN (SISTERS) is a short dance film by director Daphne Lucker and cinematographer Casper van Oort. It has screened and has won prices at festivals all over the world. In November 2019 it screened in the student competition at Camerimage and it won the IMAGO Student Award 2020.
'SISTERS tells the story of three sisters growing up in neglect. Saar, Vera, and Julia are at the mercy of each other and survive as long as they are together. With their movements and imagination, they make their world bigger, more beautiful, and tolerable. But are the connection and magic of their movements strong enough to overcome the reality of their existence?
Sisters is a dance film without dialogue. Cinematography plays an important role in the narration of the story. We didn't want incoherent music-video-like shots, but we also didn't want a simple registration, especially in wider shots this was hard to stay away from. With director Daphne Lucker I found a fine balance during the development of the choreography to reinforce this narrative through cinematography. For example, we chose to approach the three parts in which the film can be classified with three different camera styles: smooth movements for the first part where everything is still okay, handheld for the part in which the bond between the sisters is disturbed, and stilled frameworks for the reunification of the three.
Because Sisters was shot entirely in a studio, I had a lot of freedom and possibilities in the preparation. It was very nice to have influence on the shape of the set, the colors and design, and complete control over light. Together with Daan Bothof (gaffer) we came up with the use of top light, distributed in 'puddles' throughout the set. This created a fairly unrealistic incidence of light in the set, which the choreographer could also continue to use, by having the dancers move in and out of the light.
For example, what turned out to be difficult while turning was to move the camera in the set, between the dancers. Fortunately, they were very disciplined, but having an Arri Alexa Plus on Steadicam (Kevin Vidal) turned around the girls, or moving handheld between them, turned out to be more difficult than expected on set. Breaking up the choreography in parts, or simplifying the shot in part, turned out to be a lot quicker.
Director: Daphne Lucker
Producers: Thomas Mataheru, Jolijn van Rinsum, Divya Kohli
1st AC: Niels Lelieveld
Gaffer: Daan Bothof
Grip: Roy van den Vlekkert
Steadicam: Kevin Vidal
Colorist: Erik Demeris
Rental: Camera Rentals Amsterdam