The Enter Achilles movie is dedicated to the male psyche. In particular, the film appears to be a cruel and funny exploration thereof. The action takes place in the pressure of the extremely masculine environment, in a typical British pub with a smoke-filled atmosphere. The design of the pub is frayed, so that the audience has no doubt about its authenticity. Moreover, the overall image of the pub is bolstered with football on screen and pop music played with jukebox. The eight men, the characters of the film, wear suites and look like typical bar visitors. These men smoke a lot, not letting their pints of beer slipping out of their hands.
In the pub, men are having fun, but their jokes are balancing on the knife edge. Their ribaldry hides uncertainty and paranoia, whilst weakness is exploited, and violence covers vulnerability. On the whole, men in the bar display their unanimity in a menacing crowd behavior. During the film, in spite of general characteristics of men, they still reveal their private differences. Particularly, a homosexual guy dresses up as a Superman; a sorrowful one aches for a man; a man loves an inflatable sex doll more than some men love real women. The film is full of action-filled characters, dramatic tension, and movement sequences. Through these constituents, the message of the film is clearly represented by strong images and good performance.
The movie Enter Achilles is directed by Clara van Gool, and was first published and shown on TV in 1996. Initially, it was a piece for the stage performance made by the British physical theatre company named DV8. The film license holder is BBC in association with RM Associates. The video lasts for 45 minutes (“Enter Achilles” 1-2). As far as initially it was a stage piece, there was a need for its adaptation for the screen. Thus, the choreographer of the stage version Lloyd Newson adapted Enter Achilles for the screen in cooperation with Clara van Gool, the director of the film.
The eight characters in the movie are all equivalent, so there is a necessity in reviewing all eight performers. Namely, “Gabriel Castillo, Jordi Cortes Molina, David Emanuel, Ross Hounslow, Jeremy James, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, Liam Steel, Robert Tannion” (“Enter Achilles” 3). Being an extraordinary and exceptional movie, Enter Achilles was awarded seven times; in particular, it got the Jury Prize at the Montreal Festival for Films on Art in 1998; Emmy Award for Performing Arts in 1997; Golden Spire Performance Special in 1997; Prize on First Screening Stage Arts Festival in 1997; Prix Italia Special Prize – Television in 1996; Best Stage Performance Reworked for the Camera in 1996; and Special Prize on 6th Golden Antenna Television Festival in 1996 (“Enter Achilles”5).
The film is about brutal male attitudes depicted through a group of stereotyped men at the pub. The brutality can be easily recognized in the episode when one man stands out for his delicate moves, singing, and inclination to prefer more romantic music. The rest of the group does not accept his effeminacy, and isolates him. In general, all episodes are cruel to some extent, and almost all characters are acting brutally. The story is told through the language of movements and gestures. Lloyd Newson created the terrifying and brutal world where sensitivity and vulnerability at first are found, but eventually get destroyed.
The ideas of the film can be found on the one hand difficult to understand; but on the other hand, they require a mature view of the world. Moreover, some people may argue that Enter Achilles cannot be understood without a dancer’s background. However, it is possible to understand what all performers try to make clear for the audience, providing that the viewer is just open-minded to different types of art. Those people who are at least basically aware of the actual processes that take place in the society, have an opportunity to get the idea of Enter Achilles. Nonetheless, the only thing concerning the film which is not clear is its target audience. One of the ideas of the film is that it tends to criticize deeply masculine gender roles, so it should reveal more tolerance to difference in people. Thus, the possible target audience is brutal men, and the message of the film is to provoke them to look at themselves, and to change somehow. Alternatively, the other target audience might be represented by all other people, provided that the film aims at sustaining the stereotypes and prejudices of these people.
DV8 are not changing people’s attitudes to certain life aspects in Enter Achilles; on the contrary, they just aim at commenting on people’s way of thinking and acting. The goal of the film is to expand the awareness of the audience of prejudice people have. In addition, Enter Achilles is saturated with stereotypes; everything that is shown is an existent stereotype to a certain extent. Hence, it is difficult to say confidently whether the film provokes the audience to challenge their stereotypes, or sustains them instead.
The main recommendation to watch the film Enter Achilles is that, despite the fact that it reveals a lot of questions concerning stereotypes, masculinity, the cruelty of the world, it does not give the audience definite answers to these questions by imposing right and wrong opinions. Instead, the questions posed by the director, choreographer, and the performers, provoke the audience to think, giving the opportunity to make up their own minds. In general, the film is more a social comment, which is done brilliantly. This dance film is worth watching, because apart from the interesting and tricky subject of the relationships in the male’s society, Enter Achilles is done with the use of staggering choreography, dancers’ technique, and many other intriguing issues.
Enter Achilles.” DV8, n.d. Web. 13 February 2012. http://www.dv8.co.uk/projects/enterachillesfilm
Enter Achilles. Dir. Clara van Gool. BBC, 1996. Film.
Enter Achilles. Dir. Clara van Gool. Perf. Gabriel Castillo, Jordi Cortes Molina, David Emanuel. BBC, 1996. Arthaus Musik, 2007. DVD.