SV Showcase: Bória by Iwona Pasińska and the Polish Dance Theatre

Bória is a visually layered dance film created by the Polish Dance Theatre exploring metaphors and experiences related to life within a community, and the world of the individual. Experiences of good and evil, happiness and despair, and the unchanging rhythm of nature are depicted in both of these settings, separated by an invisible border to highlight the roles we play within community, and what happens when the individual removes these masks in solitude.

Bória is directed by Iwona Pasińska, the director of the Polish Dance Theatre. This is one of the three films to be awarded the StandardVision Showcase Award for Artistic Achievement at the Los Angeles Dance Film Festival.

How would you describe your film Bória to someone who has yet to see it?

IP: Bória is a procession of life in an eternal cycle [by] which the accents of time–spring, summer, autumn, winter–show the next stages of our elapsing: joy/youth, love/need, war/maturity, death/antiquity. Our story is separated by a chorus about exclusion–loneliness and lack of acceptance–which [symbolizes] the lack of universal agreement to reverse [this] prevailing order of existence.

What is the significance of the painting by Zofia Stryjeńska entitled “Seasons November – December (Pageant I – with a deer)” that is featured at the beginning and the end of the film? What was the inspiration for using this work within the film?

IP: Stryjeńska’s painting narrates on two formal levels: seasons (stages of life) and pageant (through life).

The music for Bória has an interesting cultural and structural significance to the film. What was the process of selecting the music and how did it inform the creative process?

IP: Two different musical structures of the same authorship (Kapela Maliszów) with their rhythm and melody [embeds] the character of the movement and its tempo in the composition of [the] subsequent images. The song [with vocals] accentuates the Polish coloration. The second piece of music (for the group scenes) was recovered from the only–and in addition, amateur–recording [made] many years ago which is an improvisation of the Hutsul variations of Jan Malisz. It is worth emphasizing that both pieces of music currently can’t be performed. The song, because the singer’s voice changed its color, and the Hutsul variation because the instrument–the hurdy-gurdy which Malisz used–no longer exists.

What was the inspiration for this project? How does the medium of film enhance and benefit the choreography and the meaning behind the film?

IP: The inspiration for [this] project was the work of Zofia Stryjeńska. Ebullience, colors, [and] native origins were [all] factors that stimulated the desire to revive them. This is how the idea of the movie came to life: to make a movable postcard. [To] capture the procession of life, its cycle and phases with the still and cold eye of the camera lens.

Bória features many colorful tableaux featuring traditional Polish and Hutsul scenes interspersed with scenes of a single dancer. How were these moving tableaux selected and what was the process of creating these?

IP: We wanted to capture four seasons of life in four seasons of the year. We decided on four images corresponding to the metaphors: Birth (drowning of Marzanna), Youth (wedding), Maturity (time of war), and Death (burial). The images were created on paper–as a motionless project–filled no more and no less with costumes, props, lighting and the music, which we combined with the dancers movement during [filming].

In Polish, the title of Bória is Brzemię. What is the significance and meaning of the title, and how did you decide upon this title?

IP: Brzemię in Polish means stigma, burden and weight [all] at the same time. This word has a semantic extension ranging from having experiences of social and individual heritage, to carrying a burden alone. In our language, burden [also] has a double meaning, [which is] pregnancy. So, Brzemię sums up the past and the future, fate and cyclicality.

Bória will be on view on our SVLA 1 screen at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Los Angeles. The film will screen along with two other films selected from the LA Dance Film Festival from March 2nd through May 31st playing every 20 minutes starting at the top of every hour.