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All This Can Happen, 2012

Created by Siobhan Davies and filmmaker David Hinton in 2012, All This Can Happen is a film constructed entirely from archive photographs and footage from the earliest days of cinema.

Based on Robert Walser’s novella ‘The Walk’ (1917), the film follows the footsteps of the protagonist as series of small adventures and chance encounters take the walker from idiosyncratic observations of ordinary events towards a deeper pondering on the comedy, heartbreak and ceaseless variety of life. A flickering dance of intriguing imagery brings to light the possibilities of ordinary movements from the everyday which appear, evolve and freeze before your eyes. Juxtapositions, different speeds and split frame techniques convey the walker’s state of mind as he encounters a world of hilarity and despair.

All This Can Happen has toured internationally across four continents screening at film festivals, cinemas, galleries and museums in cities including Rotterdam, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Berlin, among others.

In 2016 the International Journal of Screendance, dedicated for the first time in its history, a whole issue to All This Can Happen.

© Siobhan Davies, David Hinton and Siobhan Davies Dance MMXII

Commentary

‘Davies and Hinton have achieved the near-impossible: a film both harrowing and full of levity, pathological and poignant, microscopic and expansive.’ Sukhdev Sandhu, BFI Sight & Sound

‘The reason to watch this film is not because it is artful and thoughtful, though it is that. It is because it restores us to our senses, because it touches – gently – both body and soul. To walk, it suggests, is to be in the world.’ Sanjoy Roy, Aesthetica

All This Can Happen is a major oeuvre, a choreographic and editorial feast with a stunning visuality and amazing soundscape.’ Claudia Kappenberg, Centre for Screendance

‘Responding so appropriately and with such originality to Walser’s words David and Siobhan have created a glorious fantasy of the modern world, a dream of modernist sensibility that engages with the mind and machines and madness, sexuality and shopping, poetry and photography and (obliquely) politics, city and country, culture and nature, ways of moving and ways of seeing.’ John Wyver, illuminationsmedia.co.uk

‘A historical masterpiece… I know nothing more complex, simple, flavoured, archaic, post-modern, in the same glimpse, than this film-mirror.’ Patrick Bensard, Cinémathèque de la Danse

‘…you can learn more from watching All This Can Happen about being human than from many dance pieces: a masterwork in many ways.’ Hartmut Regitz, Tanz Magazine

Robert Walser’s The Walk

Extracts

Extracts from Robert Walser’s novella, The Walk (1917). Courtesy of Profile Books Limited.

Public Houses

Later I arrived at all sorts of public houses, which produce consequences which everyone knows. Even the most virtuous person cannot dispute the fact that he is never master of certain improprieties. Luckily, however, one is of course – human, and as such easily pardonable.

An Inexpressible Feeling for the World

I stood and listened, and suddenly there came upon me an inexpressible feeling for the world, and, together with it, a feeling of gratitude, which broke powerfully out of my soul.

Every Smallest Living Thing

With the utmost love and attention the man who walks must study and observe every smallest living thing.  The highest and the lowest, the most serious and the most hilarious things are to the walker equally beloved, beautiful and valuable. 

All This Can Happen

Do you think it quite impossible that on a gentle walk I should meet giants, do business with booksellers, dine at noon with intelligent ladies, stroll through woods, dispatch dangerous letters, and come to wild blows with spiteful, ironic master tailors? All this can happen, and I believe it actually did happen.

All Things Must Pass

So then everything, everything, all this rich life, the friendly thoughtful colours, this delight, this joy and pleasure in life, all these human meanings, family, friend and beloved, this bright, tender air full of divinely beautiful images, houses of fathers, houses of mothers, and dear gentle roads, must one day pass away and die, the high sun, the moon, and the hearts and eyes of men.

Biography of Robert Walser

Robert Walser was born in Biel, Switzerland in 1878 and during his career produced nine novels and more than a thousand stories. During his most intense creative period, this truly original author wrote The Walk (1917). Diagnosed as a schizophrenic, he entered a psychiatric hospital in 1933 where he remained until his death in 1956. During his life Walser was greatly admired by his contemporaries; Kafka, Musil, and Walter Benjamin. However, it was only after his death that his work has been widely recognised for its brilliance. W. G. Sebald described him as “a clairvoyant of the small” and Susan Sontag called him “a major, truly wonderful, heart-breaking writer”.

Credits

A Siobhan Davies Dance Production. A film by Siobhan Davies and David Hinton.

Narrator: John Heffernan

Production Team: Nina Baker, Robyn Cabaret, Eva Martinez, Alison Proctor and Rob Prouse

Adapted from The Walk by Robert Walser with the kind cooperation of Robert Walser Foundation and Société Suisse des Auteurs (SSA), Switzerland. Translated by Christopher Middleton with permission from Profile Books and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

With funding from Arts Council England and the Siobhan Davies Commissioning Fund.

© Siobhan Davies, David Hinton and Siobhan Davies Dance MMXII

Sound Design: Chu-Li Shewring

Film Editor: Danny McGuire

Additional Editing: Matthew Killip

Executive Producer: Franck Bordese

Archive Producer: Martha Wailes

Stills Researcher: Lucie Sheppard

Additional Stills Research: Piera Buckland and Zoë Dickin

Dubbing Mixer: Peter Hodges     

On-line Editor and Colourist: Torquil Dearden          

Title Design: Marc Marazzi

TECHNICAL

Running Time: 50 Minutes

Year of Production: 2012

Format: HD (1080i)

Projection Format: HD CAM, DCP, Blu-Ray, QT, others

Aspect Ratio: 1.78 16×9

Sound: Dual Mono: Dolby 2.0 – Dual Mono L & R and Dolby 5.1 – Centre & LFE

Languages: English

Country of Production: United Kingdom