In the playground of a public school, dancers rehearse highly disciplined routines under the watchful eye of a choreographer. Tensions and jealousies mount as they are observed by a rival troupe.
"Swinguerra" could be mistaken for one long or a succession of several clips. Yet, when we take a closer look, the film - screened on the occasion of the 2019 Venice Biennial in the Brazilian pavilion - largely outstretches this standardised format. What motivates these dancers at work, what moves them, goes well beyond the simple energetic interpretation of a dance. The three dance groups, essentially black and non-binary, engage in their art like a space and time for protest and political struggle. Intermingling fiction and documentary, dreamlike escapades, the narrative around the preparations prior to rehearsals up to the final dance, in costume, highlight the extent to which the intimate experience of each individual’s identity nourishes choreographic design. This is precisely the idea behind the film’s title, offering a combination of the word "swingueira" (a dance and music movement originating from Recife), and the idea of war (guerre in French), "Swinguerra" reiterates the importance of invisible people in struggles on all fronts.
Tënk's editorial team