This Dance with Ghosts Will Haunt You

David Fincher-worthy CGI meets dance in director Rogerio Silva's new film about the darker side of relationships.

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Aug 27 2015, 1:40pm

Images courtesy the artist

It's easy to see your own relationships reflected in Rogerio Silva's dance film Abaddon. Two dancers exchange a bombastic give and take, a push and pull, a leap and crash to the ground that mirrors what he describes to The Creators Project as, "relationships that test boundaries and go beyond the acceptable; relationships that reduce, erode and abuse until the love is consumed."

Silva, who previously dazzled us with two dancers baring their souls in Edifice, drives this story home with ghostly CGI apparitions, honed by both his previous career as a video game designer and some painstaking rotoscope techniques that erupt from dancer and choreographer Harriet Waghorn's body at each crescendo with her counterpart, Troy Savic.

A metaphor for romance becomes a literal ghost story, where the apparitions are the, "aspects of the woman’s character that are gradually stripped away due to the destructive nature of their relationship." Echoing the visuals of Vadim Stein's gritty photography and David Fincher's terse, constrained camerawork, Abbadon exists in the cold recesses of pleasure mixed with pain, whirling dancers defying anything my office-broken body could accomplish while embodying the pain of not just heartbreak, but the excrutiating prospects of personality destruction. "I wanted to create a desolate, cold, perhaps eerie atmosphere as a way to balance the explicitly emotional story," Silva explains. 

Welp, he succeeded.

Silva's previous short film, Edifice, finds two dancers similarly locked in a tumultous relationship visualized in leaps, flips, and pirouettes, but the squad of computer-generated spirits define Abaddon's look. The team spent six months on the effect, which added up to 1,400 hours of simulation time generating five terabytes of visual data.

As a result, the short draws in the viewer and immerses them in its moment—an effect that makes sense considering his projected career path. "Virtual Reality, or augmented reality, would be a very interesting experience for me," he suggests. "Maybe we’ll see Abaddon performed live on stage one day, where the audience wears something like Microsoft’s HoloLens to see the smoke effects in real time."

Watch Abaddon above and see more in the stills from the film, below:

Keep up with Rogerio Silva's work on Vimeo.

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