Starring: Cindy Jourdain, Arionel Vargas
Choreography: Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt
Director: Christopher Payne
Cert PG; 77mins
Movies built around dance or ballet are far from regular arrivals on the big screen. With leads played by Arionel Vargas of English National Ballet and Cindy Jourdain, formerly of ENB and The Royal Ballet, and with choreography by BalletBoyz Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, it’s hardly surprising that “Love Tomorrow” has attracted considerable interest from the dance world. Christopher Payne’s low budget film, which walked off with the Best UK Feature award at the London’s 2012 Raindance Film Festival but that has only recently been released generally, is, though, about far more than that.
The action all takes place over 24 hours or so. Oriel (Vargas), a Cuban dancer, catches the eye of Eva, when they pass on a Camden Town tube escalator. Driven by the idea that he knows here from somewhere, he strike sup what is at first a rather one sided conversation. He convinces her to go for a drink then, as the relationship unfolds, to accompany him to a performance at what is a strangely unbusy Sadler’s Wells. Later she watches him teach a community ballet class, and then accompanies him to Laban for what turns out to be a painful audition. Just when it seems the story might be about to become a fairly standard romance, issues in their private lives are slowly revealed, truths start to come out and things take a huge right turn. It is this baggage, and that of Jourdain’s character in particular, that is really the film’s driving force.
Despite neither Vargas nor Jourdain being trained actors, both have screen presence. Oriel is a chatty, slightly cheesy, superficially easy going guy, but with secrets – and imminent visa problems. Eva is quite the opposite. Jourdain was an excellent dancer-actor, and here she fills the screen with her pale face, distant expression, silence and especially her huge eyes that seem filled with melancholy. She is so unforthcoming that we don’t even find out her real name until well into the story. Things have clearly happened in her life, things that slowly are revealed. When we find out she has suffered far more than a career-stopping injury, it doesn’t come as a surprise.
Payne uses various East London locations well to create a sense of mystery. The couple’s journey is shot beautifully and atmospherically. Despite everything taking place over an evening and the next day, the movie is unhurried. It has a cinema verité feel about it. There isn’t a great deal of dialogue, and even less dancing. Some of what dialogue there is appears uneven, which is hardly surprising, but actually it’s only really noticeable now and then, mostly when other non-actor dancers enter the story.
When the dance does happen it always has a point. It always compliments the story, helps in revealing character, and is never mere decoration. Best and most expressive of the dance sequences are Oriel’s late night ballet solo under a bridge, watched by Eva from across the street with a terribly sad face; and a light-hearted, playful duet that takes place next day in historic Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets.
In many ways, “Love Tomorrow” is slight. There are no gimmicks, no fireworks, and no extraneous scenes. It is about ordinary people behaving ordinarily. It certainly gives a truthful insight into the difficult world of the freelance dancer that is unseen by the public at large. It is about as far from “Black Swan” as you can get. And yet, Vargas and Jourdain do make you care about what happens.
Essentially, it’s a journey towards understanding the characters. That understanding is never fully achieved, though. “Love Tomorrow” finishes with many questions unanswered, not least, what happened next. And best of all, it leaves you wanting to know.
Film website: www.lovetomorrowfilm.com