Moonlight Sonata

Moonlight Sonata

The short film ‘Moonlight Sonata’ was made in 2021. The film is the creation of Susan Heimsoth, a dancer, choreographer and artist living in Vancouver, Canada.

The theme of the film is that of the affect of words; words that were spoken that can never be retracted, or words that you hear that can never be forgotten. Words, either spoken or heard, may stay with you and shape your life, your thoughts, and your actions. This film looks at the process of grieving from certain traumatic words, including shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression and loneliness, feeling the upward turn, reconstruction, and acceptance. The film is shot in dark locations, with moonlight and lantern light symbolizing hope and forgiveness, and a way out of the darkness of the mind. The light symbol is woven throughout the dance as one woman – representing the wise woman – tries to show the way out of the darkness and into the light of forgiveness. In the end, the wise woman is able to lead one woman out of the cycle. The others stay behind, caught in one of the stages of grief.

The cast is made up of ordinary women who use contemporary dance as a medium to tell their story. Each actor dances with the choreographed movement. They jointly and individually express their feelings of grief throughout the film with choreography by the film creator.

Featured is piano music from Ludwig van Beethoven entitled ‘Moonlight Sonata,’ played by pianist Jacquie Brownridge. The piece was written in 1801. Beethoven called this piece ‘The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, marked ‘Quasi una Fantasia,’ Op.27, No. 2. The popular name ‘Moonlight Sonata’ comes from a critic’s remark on the music, after Beethoven’s death in 1832.

The film features scenes of a pianist playing on stage with an amateur dance troupe, who together weave the theme of pain and forgiveness. The film was shot during the pandemic, and the use of face masks indoors lends to the story. Themes of the pandemic are often thought of when viewing this film. Lockdowns, masking, closing of businesses, and many other ideas may be sensed by the viewer. The creator leaves those themes open to interpretation by the viewer. Art is seen by everyone in their own way.

Directed by Susan Heimsoth (Canada)

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