May 24 | 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm

ARTE film evening: THE SWARM – Compagnie XY flying high

May 24 | 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Photo: Susanne Diesner

Access: Digital and Open Air Cinema
Admission: 8 EUR
Focus: Dance and circus
Afterwards: follow-up conversation with Ilka Franzmann and Florian Sontowski

France’s world-famous Compagnie XY faces a major challenge in 2020. With its latest creation, “Möbius,” the circus collective has been making waves since its premiere at the end of 2019. It virtuously combines world-class acrobatics with contemporary dance, experimenting with the flocking behaviour of birds. But at the zenith of success, the planned tour fell through. Because of Covid-19, all guest performances were cancelled. All but one: in the summer of 2020, the Grec Festival Barcelona wants to show the piece.

After 4 months of forced break, the artists finally meet again. They have only 10 days to rehearse the complex creation. But at the start of rehearsals in Paris, a problem awaits them: one of the most important acrobats is ill and drops out. There are no replacements. The others are forced to divide the positions among themselves in order to be able to perform the piece at all. 

The film follows the turbulent rehearsal period from the first reunion to the spectacular performance in the amphitheatre of Barcelona. “The Swarm” takes you right into the middle of an artistic, highly creative and exciting world. Charismatic people who go to their limits – mental limits, physical limits and those of gravity anyway. Acrobats who practice failure every day and yet want to touch the sky. They put their lives on the line every second of rehearsals.

The members of the ensemble come from 10 different countries. People who have left their country and their family to become part of Compagnie XY. Compagnie XY is a collective without a boss, without hierarchies. All decisions, both practical and artistic, are discussed and shared by everyone – from the time of lunch to the construction of a four-person tower of people. The audience experiences at first hand how the artistic passion welds these completely different characters together into a kind of family. 

Director Ilka Franzmann | Camera Marcus Winterbauer | Performer Abdeliazide Senhadji, Airelle Caen, Alejo Bianchi, Andres Somoza, Antoine Thirion, Arnau Povedano, Florian Sontowski, Gwendal Beylier, Hamza Benlabied, Löric Fouchereau, Maélie Palomo, Mikis Minier-Matsakis, Oded Avinathan, Paula Wittib, Peter Freeman, Seppe Van Looveren, Tuk Frederiksen, Yamil Falvella, Antoine Bullaud, Peggy Donck | Editor Tobias Cassau, ZDF/ARTE | Production Kinescope Film GmbH | Country Germany | Year 2021 | Language French with German subtitles

First broadcast on ARTE July 4, 2021 | 10.45 p.m.