The end does not see thrusts us immediately into a nightmare. In a series of blue and black flashes on a boat, harbour lights twinkling in the background, a young, female-appearing protagonist runs across the deck towards the camera, her breathing audible. The shaky camera is pushed backwards, falling off the edge of the boat and into the water where it is engulfed by darkness. The scene, over before it started, feels like the opening of a psychological thriller, like a flash-back or a flash-forward that sparks many questions: why is she running? Did she jump? Is she dead?

 

Next, a moment in broad daylight, the waters calm. The protagonist slowly climbs down from the mast of the ship. She seems cautious, uncertain. On deck she meets a variety of characters in what feels like a video game: some hold her back, others push her forwards. She falls between them, her body flung and flipped around. Behind her, the sun sets over glass high-rises in a futuristic harbour. The music flows from a seaside atmosphere into ominous, industrial-sounding clashes and a suspenseful plucking of strings. In fast-paced close-ups of faces, fingers, elbows, minimal movements are magnified. The odd “crew” of dancers seem to be affected by the touch of the protagonist, falling into convulsing solos and sleek, graceful partner-work.

Still from The end does not see by Davide Belotti

Soon we follow the protagonist down into a brightly lit cabin, at the heart of the ship. There, the crew sits around a long table. She joins them and is met by blank stares. One woman starts to move like a puppet, as if she is being controlled by an invisible force. She slips and slides around the table, contaminating the others, who begin to move with her, seamlessly meeting the same angles and falling in the same directions. An inner turbulence, an inner violence is awakened within them; it manifests itself in perfectly executed sequences along aesthetically pleasing lines that match the geometry of the cabin’s tables, walls, its low ceiling. 

 

The paranoia sets in. It is unclear whether the characters are friends or enemies. Is it a gathering or a fight? It feels like at any point, they could turn against each other. “Trust no one”. Tension is rising in their bodies, in their expressions. A storm is brewing in the confined space of the boat’s underbelly; hands and arms grip at surfaces, weight and hair drops, flops and fingers squeak as they are dragged along plasticky surfaces. A pulsing bassline underscores crashes and shocks that resonate in the bodies of the dancers. Each sonic impact is heightened by sharp jabs in the air or rhythmic drops and spins.

Still from The end does not see by Davide Belotti 

The sounds of the dancers colliding with matter, set against the machine-driven beats, makes the resistance of their bodies, their skin, their flesh, felt. The movement and the music are seamlessly intertwined, like two sides of the same coin. The images exhibit a mastery between touch and tension, making their every move, their every sensation tangible. The building rhythms point to an angst, an inner struggle of the psyche. Is the crew she encounters real? Or are they but projections of her mind? Ghosts on board? Meanwhile, the boat doesn’t rock, no signs of a storm outside: rather, the tempest rages within.

 

As the music climbs, we are brought once again to a black out and then to a darkened, night-time scene. Flashlights flit between corridors, and we follow the protagonist to a green-lit machine room. Here she resists the force of air blowing on her face, her hair pushed back, her eyelids fluttering. She struggles to breathe, her mouth open wide… It is not the force of the wind that is causing this, rather an invisible power of which we can only see, feel, sense the impact. The sound transitions into a high-pitched ringing and before we know it it’s all over. Back to the mast, which our protagonist, once again, descends. Just like in the movies, the ending takes us back to the beginning and leaves us with the question: was it all a dream?


This material was created within the project Translation on Air – a section dedicated to dance for the screen or screendance. Every month we invite the professional and amateur audience, tempted by this intriguing symbiosis between cinema and dance, to join our readings, conversations, and discussions with active practitioners and choreographers in this field from the country and abroad.

The project Translation on Air is implemented with the financial support of the National Fund Culture under the program Audiences 2020 and One-Year Grant 2021.


Videography and references: 

Short film The end does not see by Davide Belotti

Beatrix Joyce (UK/NL) is a dance artist and dance writer based in Berlin. She trained in Contemporary Dance at Laban, London and graduated with an MA in Sociology from Goldsmiths University in 2016. She works across the domains of dance, writing and sound and creates site-specific, intermedia and immersive performances. In 2021 she started the performance in public space series WILD ACCESS, a hybrid format between audio walk and live performance, which has so far had three editions in Berlin: “WILD ACCESS Schöneberg” (September 2021, funded by Bezirksamt Schöneberg and Initiative Draußenstadt), “WILD ACCESS Pankow” (October 2021, funded by Bezirksamt Pankow), and “WILD ACCESS Lichtenberg” (October 2022, funded by Bezirksamt Lichtenberg and Fonds Darstellende Künste). In 2022 she was a resident artist in Cottbus, Brandenburg as part of the DiR Residency programme. As a writer, she joined the editorial team for Tanz im August in 2020 and writes for among others Stream (Tanzfabrik, Berlin) and Springback Magazine.