‘Under’ by Kevin Frilet

by Sergio Penzo




It seems to me that I meet and recognize myself when I return to this universal water

Kevin believes that this quote extracted from the short text Nage of the French poet

Paul Valéry was unconsciously the starting point of Under.

Water appears as the place of a second birth and of every possibility but also as the first

matrix which gives birth in its waters. He wanted to create a liquid universe where time is

suspended, space infinite and depth unknown. The water substance as a liquid light. He

aimed at shooting a film entirely « in » water with no « out » shots.

The link between birth and the liquid, between life and water is a strong, almost

inherent bond. Associating thus this idea of birth with a substance but also with a body,

the one of a naked woman who is going to take up this universe, whose depths call her,

attract her towards the abyss and finally return her to life.

Referring to the biblical image of the Genesis with the waters from the above and the

waters from the below, this spiritual creature leaves the surface of the world of the

"mortals" to spread within this vast liquid sky before rising towards a divine light coming

from the bottom. A new world.

Between these two worlds there is a place where light struggles to light up the depths.

A man comes out of this darkness. " The body of the water ". He symbolizes the limit

between these two worlds. Evoking life, death and reincarnation, this animal and

sensual "corps-à-corps" gives a glimpse of a certain harmony but this balance is broken

because these two bodies can not merge. He belongs to the world of shadows whereas

she belongs to the world of light.

The choice of the black and white seemed obvious from the start. He wanted to create an

infinite universe, almost invisible, somehow like this white desert in THX 1138 which

shows no border or no depth of field. He wanted contrasts and shadows on the bodies.

The photographic work of Trent Parke was a real source of inspiration. The idea was to

only use a light source from outside the water as a divine light.

The film being silent, the choice of the music was essential. The music had to adapt

itself to the movement of the image, to marry the rhythm of the bodies. He wanted to put

a stress on this feeling of emptiness and lightness where these bodies glide in a state of

weightlessness. He wanted a sound which could express a long dizziness, from which,

sometimes, an echo with the void can be heard. Valentin Stip composed the soundtrack

of the film. He knew his compositions and  was particularly very sensitive to his latest

album Sigh (Other People) which was also an important source of inspiration for the



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