"Have you ever had the impression that if you play the right song while a person is, for instance, frantically moving their arms trying to get rid of a bee, it may seem like they're dancing instead?"
This is what Andrea Vinciguerra ponders for his latest, wonderfully dark and humorous film, No I Don't Want to Dance. A first dive into stop motion animation for the Italian filmmaker, the story centres around the idea that dance could, if you're not careful, kill you.
As the tongue-in-cheek Director Statement reads, "We’re living in a world where dance is everywhere and, believe it or not, your kids will one day be asked to dance. You need to take control and avoid it. Blindly following other people’s 'movements' may lead to catastrophic consequences."
Andrea brought in a small but talented team for the film including animators Tim Allen and Will Hodge (who have worked on feature films like Isle of Dogs, Frankenweenie, Fantastic Mr Fox, Chicken Run and many others) and music composer Pietro Ventimiglia. "It was an incredible group of professionals, especially given the budget I had," Andrea told Creative Boom. "All the people involved work with top class animation companies and artists here in London. Most have worked together on other projects which made everything run really smooth and the daily routine really enjoyable."
Taking just seven "intense" weeks to complete, Andrea and his team created hundreds of props, built seven scenarios and animated almost thirty characters, each one with his own costume and feature. "It was a quite long but super rewarding process. I'm saying that probably because it was my first proper stop motion experience but for me, it’s still hard to believe that we created from scratches everything you can see in the film.
"It’s an incredible sensation. It’s like being little Gods and creating life in a world full of quirky details. I mean there is a 'glory hole' for dogs in the club’s toilet, and one of the scenarios is literally a tacky calamari restaurant in which they play loud techno music all day long. You cannot easily find these things in the real world, so I'm happy we created them."
How does he hope people will interpret it? "I like the idea of it being open to interpretations. One of my animators, for instance, believes this film is ultimately about Brexit. And when you consider the characters in this film blindly following other people’s movements and as a result have to deal with terrible consequences, I think he may have a point," Andrea explained.
"For me, well, I’m not comfortable with dancing in public, it’s unsettling most of the times, so after this film, I hope people will finally take me more seriously when I say no."