Written and directed by Bat-Sheva Guez, Behind the Wall is a delightful short film that gently alters ones perception of reality. After receiving a career ending dance injury, Katrin moves into an old apartment building in Brooklyn, New York. We first see her as she slowly trudges upstairs to her apartment wearing a temporary cast. She is consumed by her recent misfortune and totally rejects any contact with friends or family. Katrin’s life begins to change as she becomes distracted by the banging of radiator pipes, and drawn to a small hole in the wall that allows her to observe her neighbors. Through the magic of the building’s ever changing rhythms and the bending of space and time, our heroine meets her new neighbors, gets a glimpse of her future and begins life anew.
Behind the Wall is not the typical dance film. It is, however, a film where everything and everyone has movement, and it definitely uses elements of magic and fantasy. The rhythms caused by the old radiator pipes appear to alter the emotions of the three characters in the film. Marianne and her husband Earl become more loving towards each other and inspired to dance together in their kitchen. But Katrin’s attempt at giving herself a simple ballet barre only adds to her frustration. The film is a look into the psyche and imagination of the heroine and the healing effects the building and her neighbors have on her. Guez also points out what the ever-changing makeup of this Brooklyn neighborhood and its fast paced lifestyles has had on people who have spent their entire lives there.
Bat-Sheva Guez is the recipient of the JT3 Artist Award for Screenwriting & Directing. She has written and directed more than a dozen short films which have screened in festivals worldwide. In 2015 and 2016, Behind the Wall won several film awards including the Grand Prize for Best Cinematography at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival’s award for Best Director. Her past films include A Day in Milan, As Light As Air, Whorl and 3F. Her films have been screened at the Constellation Change Screen Dance Festival, the Sans Souci Festival, The New York Television Festival, and the Atlanta Underground Film Festival. With her production company, Adventure Pants, she has directed over 20 videos for Lincoln Center. Her works have included videos for New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and American Ballet Theatre.
Alexandra Turshen gives an amazing performance without a single word of dialogue. She portrays her character’s struggles and emotions solely through her expressive and detailed physicality. Karen Lynn Gorney and Lou Patane give extraordinary performances as the typical New York building “supers” who befriend Katrin and slowly draw her out of her shell. Other artists whose work deserve mention include Choreographer Krista Racho-Jansen, Director of Photography Giacomo Belletti, Composer Mark Orton, Production Designer James Bartol and Sound Designers Arjun G Sheth & Patrick Burges.
Behind the Wall will screen on July 14, 2016 at the Triskelion Dance Film Feastival 7pm (Films & Free Pizza) Co-Sponsored by the Dance Films Association, and at the Fine Arts Film Festival in Santa Barbara on Friday July 15 at the Santa Barbara Center for Arts, Science & Technology. To see a trailer of Behind the Wall go to http://bguez1.wix.com/behindthewall.