Way out in Arlington, Massachusetts USA is a 106 year old cinema that holds an annual international film festival. It’s called Lonely Seal and it screens “stories aching to be told”.
Moving Together, The Film, has been selected to be shown at the 2022 festival.
It’s a good match for the festival programme. Coming out of a research project between Dr Bronwyn Tarr, an anthropologist at the University of Oxford and Justice in Motion, it answers a question – does dance and music have an impact on loneliness (…and its opposite)? The team talked to individuals who were chronic sufferers. In recorded conversations, each person was able to describe how they were affected by it and what the opposite of loneliness is to them. Those conversations were translated into sound, music, dance and videos.
In the film, snippets of the recorded voices share their experiences of loneliness. Dancing characters show how it feels as movement – struggling, reaching, curling inwards, flinging outwards, describing an internal pain.
Starting with a lilting piano accompanied by a rhythmic pulse-like woosh, the soundscape feels almost internal. Fragments of lonely lives described and performed. The movements and voices have a deep poignancy.
Music holds the colour and mood of the whole. As we see more people come together on the screen, more instruments are added to the score, the sound opens up and we feel the space created. The movements and voices evolve from a claustrophobic sadness to a spreading sense of joy.
Loneliness is literally a story “aching to be told”, and I defy you to watch Moving Together, The Film and not come away feeling uplifted.