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Cinedans 2022 Why We Fight

Why We Fight?

Mirjam Devriendt, Alain Platel / BE, 2021 / 98 min.

When we run out of words, the body takes over. Dancers Berengrere Bodin, Samir M'Kirech and TK Russell agree thus far, when asked: why are we fighting? Based on their personal experiences, they search for the whys of the violence around them in the world, but also the violence within them. Q&A after the screening.

poster Cinedans Festival 2022

How do you deal with fear, frustration and disappointment in today's world, where you are not heard or understood? Is it even possible to act in a non-violent way? Or is that privilege reserved for those who create dance, music, art or words?

In Why We Fight? choreographer Alain Platel and director Mirjam Devriendt pay tribute to the arts and to humanity, which always seems to balance between creating something spectacularly beautiful and something horribly cruel. The film is inspired by a scene from the dance performance Nicht Schlafen that Alain Platel made in 2016 with the company les ballets C de la B, in a set by visual artist Berlinde De Bruyckere.

The film does not provide an unequivocal answer to the question of why we are fighting. It does show how a complex set of individual psychological, social, political and religious factors causes constant outbreaks of violence throughout human history.

Using various types of film and image material, as well as visual metaphors, the film analyzes social change, the lack of emotional processing and the strength of humanity. Various historians, philosophers, artists and writers, including Berlinde De Bruyckere, Tinneke Beeckman and Koert Debeuf, will have their say.

Despite the pessimistic signs we see on the world front today, the creators urge us never to lose hope! Or as writer and historian Phillip Blom puts it in the film: "We don't have the luxury of giving up!".

Alain Platel

Platel is an acclaimed director, who has 30 years of experience in theater and dance. In France, Platel was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République française in 2001 and Commandeur de l'Orde des Arts et des Lettres in 2015. In the United Kingdom, Platel received the Time Out Live Award in 2001 . In Belgium, Platel received in 2015 the Flemish Culture Prize for General Cultural Merit, in 2016 the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from Ghent University and the Gold Medal of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and Art.

Mirjam Devriendt

In collaboration with the internationally renowned artist Berlinde De Bruyckere, photographer Mirjam Devriendt has created numerous video installations for opera and art exhibitions. In particular for De Munt (Penthesilea - director: Pierre Audi -2015), Holland Festival (Mariavespers - director Pierre Audi - 2017), Het Vlot – Ostend (Penthesilea, 2015-2017 - curator Jan Fabre), And You Must Suffer – Muziektheater Transparant and B'Rock Orchestra (2015). In 2017, Devriendt presented a series of photos and a video installation in the Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent as part of the 'The Alzheimer Code' project.

This is part of



Mirjam Devriendt, Alain Platel

Production year




Original title

Why We Fight?


98 min.


French, English, Dutch





Part of

Cinedans 2022

In five full days, Cinedans presents the state of the art of international dance film in partnership with dancescreen - IMZ International Music + Media Center Vienna.

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