To Be Touched
Our Take – Small Axe Short Film Reviews by Cole Diment
Tuulia Soininen’s To Be Touched is a 7 minute dance film that explores the trauma of touch and the possibility for rejuvenation in the body. The film is structured around three sections of music and three scenarios that each impart a different idea of touch.
The first sequence takes the form of what seems to be a vision. The film cross-cuts between two scenarios, one of a dreadlocked dancer moving and one of a passive woman being stripped with scissors. The two images conjure disparate notions of touch and the body. The first seems active, imbued with the possibility of being alive to ones body at the same time as offering an expression of trauma that may form an antidote. The latter expresses un-consensual touch and, with the use of cutouts highlighting individual body parts, arguably expressing the process of fetishisation of the female body. The body, acting in dance as a whole, counters this offering an embodied experience of female subjectivity as opposed to being dissembled by a power-hungry gaze.
However, the question of how trauma may be fully overcome sits at odds with the individual dancer. Though her embodied experience may offer the chance to address her trauma it seems also to act as a re-affirmation of the experience. The end image, of collective dance and entwinement, seems to offer an alternative: community and shared grief as the basis for a healing process. Though we maybe dealing here in abstract generalities, generalities offer the means of being a template, an idea, a springboard for further progress. To Be Touched offers such a springboard.