Why We Fight?

In his debut film, the world-famous choreographer Alain Platel searches for answers as to why certain times are more violent than others, why people seem to have an instinct for violence, why we fight?

Why We Fight?

Violence is mental and physical. And who better than a dancer to reflect on how mind and body work together? The film shows how violence erupts as a physical reaction when we lack words and ways to express our dissatisfaction.

Bérengère, Samir and Russell, three dancers of Platel’s performance ‘Nicht Schlafen’, have been dancing a physically violent choreography for almost two years now. Bérengère has just become a mother. Samir grew up in a racist France. Russell saw death during the student protests in Congo in 2015. Through their questions and ideas, the film confronts us with violence in the world but also inside ourselves. At some points they ask for voices with different discipline and expertise. Historian Philipp Blom explains how rapid changes in society (man-woman, political, socioeconomic, academic, etc.) lead to fear. Koert Debeuf, Middle East specialist, suggests that violence invariably arises to defend those we consider to be family, especially in protectionist times. Nevertheless, art and science have always progressed through the confrontation of 2 cultures. Berlinde De Bruyckere, an internationally renowned Belgian sculptress, makes art that feels both extremely violent and silent at the same time. Together with Berlinde we investigate violence from a personal, intuitive inner world. And Tinneke Beeckman, philosopher, explains how violence is a necessary part of democracy.

We have the power to act, but is that at all possible in a non-violent way? Or is that only possible for those who create music, art, dance, and words? Using various types of imagery and visual metaphors, the film analyses social change, the lack of emotional processing and the power of humanity, that always seems to balance between creating something spectacularly beautiful and something horribly cruel.

Director: Alain Platel, Mirjam Devriendt
DoP: Mirjam Devriendt
Editor: Dieter Diependaele
Music: Steven Prengels
Archive: Rémonde Panis

Commissioning Editor: Wolfgang Bergmann
Executive Producer: Tuan Lam
Produced by: Emmy Oost, Magalie Dierick, Christian Beetz
Line Producer: Kathrin Isberner