play the wind
A FIlm by Alex Prager
In photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager’s latest film, Play the Wind, now on view at Lehmann Maupin gallery in New York through Oct. 26, Dimitri Chamblas, dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts, takes on a new role: actor.
In the 8-minute film, Chamblas plays a retired dancer driving through the highly stylized streets of a dystopian Los Angeles. He passes colorful, surreal situations and people—reminiscent of Cindy Sherman’s oeuvre—and eventually encounters a mysterious woman from his past, played by actress Riley Keough (American Honey, The Girlfriend Experience).
Chamblas and Prager first met in 2015 when Chamblas was artistic director at the Paris Opera. A fan of the filmmaker’s work, he invited Prager to make a 10-minute film, La Grande Sortie for Paris Opera’s online platform, 3e Scène.
When Chamblas moved to Los Angeles for CalArts, Prager asked if he would appear in her film. “I’ve never been an actor, but I’m a dancer,” says Chamblas, referring to his comfort-level with both performance and cameras. Trusting his friend’s vision, and the cinematographer’s skill (cinematographer, Matthew Libatique shot Darren Aronofosky’s Oscar-nominated Black Swan), Chamblas learned that much of the work was in the “smallness of the gesture” as opposed to larger, dramatic ones.
Like Prager, who often uses the city of Los Angeles as a character in works, referencing and recreating the incomparable urban spaces, Chamblas is no stranger to employing and incorporating L.A. public spaces either.
The photographs in the series are complementary to the film, meant to give the spectator a chance to linger on the details and the stories contained in each frame.