When director Asa Mader first met dancer Benjamin Millepied at a dinner party five years ago, a friendship and creative partnership was formed. Mader studied film in New York before moving to France to produce most of his films there. Millepied, a French dancer based in New York as a principal of the New York City Ballet, has also dipped his fingers into the world of film, choreographing and starring in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan alongside Natalie Portman. The result of his and Mader’s collaborations is a romantic short film called Time Doesn’t Stand Still, in which Millepied stars opposite French actress Léa Seydoux.
Mader says that Time Doesn’t Stand Still explores the idea of a ‘universal language’, expressed through the simple storyline of a couple’s courtship and Millepied’s intimate choreography. With the added simplicity of sparse French dialogue and a classic aesthetic borrowed from Ralph Lauren’s current collections by stylist Aleksandra Woroniecka, the film uses dance movements to represent the gestures of love as a form of universal ‘speech’. The highlight of the film is the couple’s late-night tango, which expresses through dance what does not need to be spoken in love. Like this tango, the film as a whole is an accumulation of gestures, movements and bodily expression that transcend spoken words.
Millepied’s collaborative venture with Mader is similar to his choreography in Black Swan, which has the same evocative tone. In both films, psychological and emotional states are expressed through the body as it moves in dance, suggesting an unspoken internal language. They are films that make even the simplest gestures, such as a scratch on the shoulder or clasped hands, seem fascinating.
Mader and Millepied have premiered a short excerpt of Time Doesn’t Stand Still online, with the full version expected to be released later on in 2011.