Brazilian film and theatre director Christiane Jatahy brings her theatrical work to the UK for the first time in this arresting performance of Dusk, based on Lars von Trier’s film Dogville.
Attempting to escape the oppressive, quasi-fascist regime of her country, a young Brazilian woman, Graça, flees her homeland. She finds refuge in a community of theatre artists staging Dogville and tackling the question: to what extent is our society tolerant of the Other? At first, Graça is enthusiastically welcomed by the group. However, she later falls victim to exploitation and experiences racist and xenophobic attitudes — recurring themes in Jatahy’s work.
Jatahy was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre at the 2022 Venice Biennale and praised for merging the horizons of cinema and theatre. In Dusk, making its UK premiere at the Festival, film and theatre blend to offer many different perspectives over one absolute and final truth.
The ensemble cast is perfect.
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Based on the film Dogville by Lars von Trier
Comédie de Genève
Christiane Jatahy Staging, Direction and Adaptation
Thomas Walgrave Artistic Collaboration, Set and Lighting Designer
Paulo Camacho Director of Photography
Vitor Araújo Music
Anna Van Brée Costume Designer
Jean Keraudren Sound Designer
Julio Parente and Charlélie Chauvel Video Designers
Cast Véronique Alain, Julia Bernat, Paulo Camacho, Azelyne Cartigny, Philippe Duclos, Vincent Fontannaz, Delphine Hecquet, Viviane Pavillon, Matthieu Sampeur, Valerio Scamuffa
When I first saw Lars von Trier’s film Dogville, it provoked in me a mixture of fascination and repulsion. I loved its bold form and the way it dismantles the mechanisms of capitalist exploitation. But I felt a real sense of rejection faced with its depiction of humanity’s failures and violence against women.
However, with what has happened in my country, Brazil, since the election of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018, I thought back to Dogville. The choice to adapt Dogville for the theatre was directly linked to my bewilderment at seeing a form of fascism return in Brazil after 30 years of democracy. What surprised me most was seeing how in my country, as elsewhere, the acceptance of the extreme political right happened quietly. All over the world, this shift can be observed in people who can no longer distinguish between rights and privileges. It's this slip that interests me, and the way in which fascism is played out through the most intimate relationships.
Lars von Trier turned to theatre to make his film; I turned to cinema to create this play. I wanted to explore the friction between theatre and cinema and the effects of this tension on meaning and truth. The production of Dusk contains a mixture of live and pre-recorded footage. It’s like it’s all unfolding in the same space, so the audience doesn’t know if they’re watching the past or the present. I wanted to create a feeling of instability, the feeling of being in a sort of nightmare of repetition.
For me, the question of the past is at the heart of the relationship between theatre and cinema. In Brazil, the past pulls us back. It’s like it exists in a twilight space – dusk – we live with the past like a scar. But you have to put this scar on full view to change people’s minds. To avoid the risk of repeating the same story infinitely.
– Christiane Jatahy
Co-produced by Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, Paris; Piccolo Teatro di Milano-Teatro d’Europa; Théâtre National de Bretagne, Rennes and Maillon Théâtre de Strasbourg.
Lars Von Trier is represented in Europe by Marie Cécile Renauld, MCR Agence Littéraire as agreed with Nordiska ApS.
Christiane Jatahy is an Associate Artist at Odéon Théâtre de l’Europe; Centquatre-Paris; Schauspielhaus Zürich; Arts Emerson, Boston and Piccolo Teatro di Milano.
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