Take My Hand is a 23-minute conversation — with not a word spoken.
The dialogue between dancer Lina Kazan and musician Daniel Regnier is a complex mix of melody and movement.
The movie was shot this past summer at Saskatoon locations including The Refinery, the Roxy Theatre and the Remai Modern.
Kazan is a long-time Saskatoon flamenco dancer and instructor. She said the film is a response to the enforced isolation of the pandemic.
“It’s a story of a person who’s in deep reflection, in isolation, you might want to say in solitude and despair, missing the connections, missing the love of other people,” she said.
“Then the story evolves slowly into connecting back, more joy, more colour, more light, and then connecting with the community at the end.”
The film begins with a woman walking into a dimly-lit dressing room and slowly applying lipstick in front of a mirror. It ends with the same woman walking into the light at River Landing and dancing with a group.
Kazan’s partner Daniel Regier supplies the original score, playing guitar, oud, piano and cajon, first off-screen and then with Kazan. Accompanying vocals are supplied by Spanish singer Caledonia Garrido.
Versa Films did the video production.
Regnier said the music and the dance flowed from the same creative well.
“Flamenco works a little differently than other art forms. There’s some kind of pre-determined structures that we always work with, when there’s footwork we have special kind of ways of working with that,” he said.
“She can tell me, ‘Well, I want this kind of melody’ and then I’ll go and compose something that kind of works. And then she’ll come back and say, ‘Oh that’s different than I thought it was.’ So it becomes like a dialogue. It’s really interactive.”
The film’s message is resonating with viewers.
It premiered at the Victoria Flamenco Festival in July and is an official selection at the Toronto International Women Film Festival, the Madrid Indie Film Festival, the LA Independent Women Film Awards and the Cannes International Cinema Festival.
There is a free screening on Nov. 19 at the Broadway Theatre and it will also be available for streaming on ConcertStream.tv, which is the new platform the SSO owns and uses to stream their concerts and productions.
Kazan said it will be made available to stream around the time of the screening event, and people can access it whenever they want for a small fee.
Kazan and Regnier are the co-founders of Flamenco Borealis, a Saskatoon non-profit that spreads the message and music of flamenco. Take My Hand is their first foray into film. Kazan said the national and international response is gratifying.
“At this point there are no money rewards, so we’re not getting rich off it, but it’s really nice for us to get that recognition internationally,” she said.
“The Cannes one, for instance, it’s the indie Cannes Cinema, and we were really thrilled with being selected.… it’s a big deal for us because this is our first shot at doing a film. We’re good at flamenco, but the cinema part is new to us.”
The screening at the Broadway Theatre will be preceded by a short discussion and followed by a question and answer.