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\m/_ (Stijn Coninx x Anne Dudley, 2023)

NotesPart of Special Issue1: 25X250

A young woman dresses in a hurry, she puts on a necklace and mascara, and combs through her short hair with her fingers. The scene is mundane, but rousing orchestral music announces great events. Indeed, the following sequence of the minute-and-a-half film that resulted from the collaboration between the Belgian director Stijn Coninx and the British composer Anne Dudley is reminiscent of thrillers or adventure movies. The woman runs determinedly straight ahead of herself, crossing deserted forests, meadows and swamps. 

The various colorful garments in which she appears during her journey suggest that rather than chasing or fleeing someone, she may be searching for herself. That this is not an obvious undertaking is proven by the terrified looks she casts around her, and the dense ferns and barbed wire that impede her journey.

But then a page is torn off a calendar; it is Wednesday, May 17, International Day Against Homo- and Transphobia. After a final hasty search, the woman hangs out the LGBTQIA+ flag out on the streets. Coninx seems to have taken advantage of the festival’s assignment to spread a political message. His mysterious short film can be read as a metaphor for the way people in our society are hounded into making choices or forced to behave differently than they want. Coninx, however, is clear: diversity should be celebrated.