City. Body. Concentration. It´s an urban setting with a young man focusing on what´s ahead: he moves down from a wall with a backwards roll, keeps on running and in elegant, flowing movements overcomes a series of further hurdles until, in the end, he kneels and concentrates again.
Then a cut, and the well-known poetry slammer Fatima Moumouni enters the picture. Against the backdrop of a train yard with freight cars and high rises, she begins her rap about life and growing up in the big city in which everyone has to find their space: "I´m a city kid, born in smog."
While she makes use of a poetic practice that describes the city’s subversive use in rhyme - "Look how melodiously I write on walls and use every meter" - a series of parkour runners carry out this occupation of public urban space quite literally.
In the images that Jannis Lenz cut parallel to Fatima Moumouni´s performance, one sees small groups, but also individual runners who apparently cannot be stopped by anyone or anything. Through spectacular tracking shots he lends their - in part breakneck - actions that lead over stairways, railings, and barricades, something entirely weightless, at times almost dance-like.
Their repertoire of body control ranges from handstand to somersault to long jump, which applied in the urban space, always equates with escape. Jannis Lenz emphasizes these subversive aspects and fills the parkour run with content: in the end, these practices of using public space become a very important statement against its hermetic control structures, as these - as the film shows - constantly drive the parkour runners to the fringes of cities, such as to the Danube plains, for example, to Aspern.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
The artform of movement "Le Parkour" which originated in a Parisian suburb and which received global appeal on the internet, is about overcoming walls and obstacles in an urban surrounding. It also deals with the feeling or longing for weightlessness in the big city which is gradually becoming smaller.
The 9min short film evolved from material collected within 3 years, about a group of "Traceurs" from Vienna who are presenting the story through body language. The poetry slammer Fatima Moumouni is supporting the collage with a poem on mental reclamation of the city and the youth movement´s attitude towards life. (Jannis Lenz)
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english print version