The Demand for Love on ScreenDance Diaries was first published on July 2, 2014.
At the opening night of this year’s Dance Camera West, one of the biggest standouts for me was a beautiful short from Norway called The Demand for Love. The film opens with a young girl, likely not more than six or seven years old, apparently lost in thought or in the throes of a waking dream. She is intently curling her hands and fingers this way and that, almost as if twiddling or conjuring. The image of the girl is idyllic because of the lighting, film quality, and her beauty, and at the same time it’s so oddly striking – perhaps because of the intensity of her expression – that I remember it made me momentarily catch my breath. As the film progresses we see the girl in relation to a young woman. The girl is unbelievably persistent as she urges, manipulates, and dominates the woman’s body, physically demanding to be the sole focus of her attentions and care. In one passage, the young girl literally climbs the body of the woman, who all but peels her off.
I found it to be a beautiful if not at times disturbing representation of how many mothers feel when faced with the – often overwhelming – needs and demands of our children.
Directed by Hege Haagenrud & Siren Lauvdal, and danced by Edith Haagenrud-Sande & Marta Luiza Jankowska, The Demand for Love artfully puts us in the position of the woman in the film. Like the young girl, the film itself uncompromisingly demands our complete and unwavering attention. With the beautiful soft focus of its cinematography by Siren Lauvdal, lulling piano score by Rebekka Karijord, thoughtful and moving choreography by Hege Haagenrud, I found it truly memorable.
The Demand for Love is the kind of non-linear and utterly emotional elegy to parenthood and love, that really can only be communicated at the intersection where dance meets film.