Trauma is never as simple as cause and effect, but a complicated web of flashbacks and realizations that unfold throughout life. In UNDONE, Director Pip Cowley's new short film starring Camren Bicondova (of Gotham fame), an inner child heals her wounds through abstract choreography as symbolism for rebirth.
"In making this film, I wanted to create a conversation around trauma and the healing process, using dance as a form of catharsis," Cowley tells PAPER. "Although the process of working through grief and shame often feels messy and isolating, the film is intended to arm people with the courage to face uncomfortable memories and their own inner dialogue.
For UNDONE, Bicondova moves alongside the ocean at dusk, set to James Vincent McMorrow's "Cavalier." Holding back tears, she's at once broken and untouchable, as flashbacks of her past cut into the present, before building into final moments of power and peace. In this case, home represents her trauma and the water her rebirth.
"I was excited to portray a story of healing from trauma and how it usually forces you to face yourself, not just the issues that caused the trauma itself," Bicondova says. "UNDONE is a visualization of what the internal workings of healing look and feel like. That it's not all flowers and rainbows like we think or even hope — there is sadness and anger, and with that comes the overall story of the healing process, which is cleansing and beauty."
Cowley continues, "For me, illuminating the topic was only half of the story. I thought it was equally important to say that although traumatic events can be debilitating, most of us are left with a choice: to let the trauma define us or we can choose to define ourselves outside of the trauma."