1) Technical Details
2) Press Text
4) Director’s Note
5) Devadasi - Reclaiming the History
6) Director Bio
7) Cinematographer Bio
1) Technical Details
Title: Moving into the Infinite
German title: Im Spiegel Deines Angesichts
A documentary film essay
Available in German and English
(Subtitles: German and English)
Original spoken languages: German, English, Hebrew, Farsi, French, Spanish
Length: 122 min.
Aspect ratio: 1:1,78 (16:9)
Shooting format: Digital/Video HD
Sound format: Dolby 5.1
Exhibition format: 2D DCP
Picture format: HD ColorShare
Country of production: Germany, Switzerland, Israel
2) Press Text
A young woman, thrown from a state of innocence, sets out on a spiritual quest. She follows an inner longing and discovers her calling to dance for god. As she travels the world, she meets and dances with people from different cultures, traditions and religions, sharing with them the smallest house of God, the human heart.
Moving into the Infinite, a semi-autobiographical dance film -- parts documentary, film essay, and fairytale -- was produced and directed by the dancer, Carola Stieber, alias Paramjyoti. Paramjyoti shares and communicates the fruits of her many journeys throughout the world, how she was captivated by dance and has developed her own practice. Her narrative journey celebrates what is important in life -- to be oneself, to find one's true nature, and to connect with that which is unchanging: in short, moving into the infinite.
Impossible to categorize, the film alternates between scenes of dramatic intensity, probing interviews, and poetic magic at the hands of cinematographer, Eckart Reichl. Even without sound or plot, it is possible to immerse oneself within the kaleidoscope of aesthetic and rich images. Moving into the Infinite is a declaration of love to that which is truly alive and inherent in all cultures, religions and human hearts.
Moving into the Infinite, a semi-autobiographical film essay, follows a woman who discovers her spiritual practice in dance. Her unconventional calling -- to dance for god -- moves her to travel across the globe, to dance in holy as well as secular spaces, and celebrate with people of different religions and cultures, finding common ground in the heart.
Art, spirituality, peace research, human ecology, therapy, and community become the venues of the dance. Through its 11 interviews with diverse people from 12 countries including Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Israel, and Palestine, differences melt away. What appears foreign at first reveals a deeper intimacy as we witness moments of initiation, conflict and celebration.
Devadasi is one name for traditional temple dance in India and also the title for its practitioner. The story of this modern Devadasi -- her projects and journey -- serves to shed light on the intention and nature of temple dance, beyond borders of tradition and religion. Moving into the Infinite traces the soul's quest. It is a dance film and a cosmic love story about the desire for Truth in the guise of dance.
4) Director’s Note
The inspiration to make this film began a decade ago when I witnessed an elderly man in an Indian village. Despite the obvious decay of his physical body, he joyously stamped in circles around his walking stick in blissful and tender ecstasy, above his head the wide open sky. The wish to convey the rich experiences of my outer and inner journeys to a broader audience as well as to shed light on the topic of Devadasi, moved me to make this film.
Devadasi (Sanskrit, female servant of god) is a name for temple dance in India in its early inception as well as in certain religious traditions. The role of the Devadasi has been misunderstood and misinterpreted throughout history. Currently, Devadasi is often synonymous for prostitution. I feel compelled to help disabuse this misperception. In our film, we witness a cosmopolitan temple dancer, her pure intention, her life and work, the heritage and spiritual dimension of her dance and its role in society. Moving into the Infinite displays a contemporary expression of Devadasi, a dance practice which serves as a spiritual path beyond borders of tradition and confession.
For me, traveling to different countries, and experiencing different cultures and religions, is invigorating. Forming a connection with the varied traditions, rituals, symbols, images and stories, is like walking through spiritual doors and entering new chambers. I love the diversity of the different gardens, discovering the common essence that brings life to our heart by way of many paths.
Facing the unfamiliar can be frightening. I seek to go beyond the differences, beyond fear of touch, and to penetrate into that which is common. Moving into the Infinite is an invitation to break down borders and to grow beyond one's own horizon. In the film, the story of a grandmother displays this beautifully. Having experienced utmost cruelty, she is able to overcome feelings of rage, hatred and revenge, inspiring her entire family to seek reconciliation and peace.
Certain planned scenes developed differently than expected or even did not take place at all. Others unfolded in an unexpected way, more beautifully than we could have ever conjured by ourselves.
I spent nine days at Liane Berghammer's Horse School in order to prepare a scene with her black shire horse and stud stallion, "Hawk Stone Tom." I learned enough that I could return courageously to the zesty-blooded Spaniard, "Altanero." My fantasy to ride on him through the summer landscape, galloping without saddle or any gear remained elusive. Instead, in the morning mists, we started to dance with each other!
As a professional modern dancer, I became author, director and producer of Moving into the Infinite with the avid encouragement of my chief collaborator, cinematographer Eckart Reichl. Together as a team, we embarked on the adventure of producing our film. Shooting and editing were a fulfilling combination of my spontaneous, intuitive approach to filmmaking and his knowledge and experience in film. Each day was a creative play with the elements of planning, and chance, letting go and fresh navigation. The final project that emerged far outshone our calculating mind. The result is a film which transcends conventional forms, genre and style, and that defies easy categorization. Dream becomes reality and reality appears to be a dream.
My invitation to the viewer is to set aside expectations and to enter with an open heart. Allow the rational mind to relax and the fairytale-like imagery to induce a meditative mood for one's own inner journey.
5) Devadasi: Reclaiming the History
Devadasi (Sanskrit, female servant of God) has a complex, even contradictory background and set of associations. In its earliest designation, it referred to women who expressed their devotion through dance. Some say they led celibate lives, while others suggest sexuality was used for initiation purposes.
Devadasi originally described a Hindu religious practice in which girls were "married" to a deity. The Devadasi took care of temples, were highly educated, practiced traditional music and dance, and enjoyed a high social status. Their practices formed the roots of several Indian classical dances. Following the demise of the great Hindu kingdoms, the practice degenerated. Devadasis were now considered to be immoral. They were described as prostitutes since they engaged in sex outside of the Christian concept of marriage. Concurrently, with the Muslim invasion, women lost their independence and power.
Revivalists propagated the model of the ancient temple dancer as sacred and chaste women. Likening them to nuns, they stressed that the Devadasi's dance was a form of Natya Yoga that enhanced an individual's spiritual plane. Others claimed that a Devadasi was neither a prostitute nor a nun: "She was a professional artist who did not suppress or deny her feminine skills."
The tradition of offering these girls to the temple exists to this day, but these Devadasi are mostly considered outcasts of society, imprisoned and enslaved within their enforced roles. Today, one can hardly find Devadasis of the original lineage or intention. Moving into the Infinite follows the travels and encounters of a modern Devadasi, and seeks to shed light on the nobility, mystery and beauty of this ancient, misunderstood heritage.
cultures and spiritual beliefs. Reaching out to human hearts and strengthening the connection between
6) Director Bio
Born in Southern Germany, Carola Stieber/Paramjyoti studied at the Ballet School of Karin Hermes-Sunke. She received a scholarship from the Mary Anthony Dance Studio in New York City, studying under the legendary Bertram Ross (formerly of the Martha Graham Dance Company). In 1998, she graduated from the Dance Academy AHK Hoogeschool voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam with a diploma in Modern Dance.
After sustaining an injury, Paramjyoti received training in methods like body-mind centering and Alexander Technique as well as treatments in craniosacral therapy and osteopathy, while discovering Zen Meditation. After graduation, Paramjyoti pursued spiritual studies including Shamanism and energy work in California. Having met Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith during her years of studies, she plunged into the lively Contact Improvisation scene of the Bay Area. Back in Germany and Switzerland, a collaboration with Budhi S. Otong deepened her access to spiritual practice and ritual theater.
In 2002, Paramjyoti founded her own school, focusing on movement, dance and awareness: "Devadasi - Dance of the Heart." Since that time, she has taught and performed in Germany and throughout the world, including seven years in India as well as several months-long residencies nurturing movement research at the Kibbutz Neot Semadar in Israel. Centers throughout the world have offered appreciation and platforms for her work. The community and Yoga School Ananda (Assisi Italy), Yoga Vidya (Germany), Center of Unity/Schweibenalp (Switzerland) and the Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa Resort Kamalaya (Koh Samui, Thailand) have become collaborating families.
Throughout the 15 years of her school’s existence, Paramjyoti has performed and taught in 20 different countries. Over this period, she has organised community-based and charitable programs, bringing people from different cultures and spiritual traditions together in music, dance and celebration. One of these events, "Love Moves," is held annually in Germany. The past three years were spent on the creation and post-production of her film, "Moving into the Infinite," a culmination of her lifelong devotion to dance, meditation, peace work, community-building, and spiritual practice.
7) Cinematographer Bio
Eckart Reichl was born in 1968 in Dresden. In 1993, he founded a production company and since then has been working mainly in the documentary field for independent TV and cinema as a freelance cinematographer. Mr. Reichl has worked on a diverse range of projects with international scope. Since 1998, he has supervised film projects on academic faculties.
Selected Film Credits
Verschleppt. Verkauft. Gequält. Gerettet. Directed and edited by Eckart Reichl, 2017, documentary, 62´
Vertreibung 1961 Directed by Peter Grimm, 2016, documentary, 51´
Umstürzende Neuerungen Directed by Barbara Böttger, 2015, documentary, 97´
Waldbrüder - Die Partisanen aus dem Īle - Bunker Directed by Peter Grimm, 2013, documentary, 82´
Die Nachtigall Directed by Karsten Gundermann, 2012, scenic opera film, 90´
Der Geist der Maya Directed by Harald Schluttig, 2012, documentary, 80´
For more, please visit: http://atelier-reichl.de/filmografie/
Dancer: Carola Stieber/Paramjyoti
Storyteller: Patricia Chong
Dance Teacher: Karin Hermes Sunke
Swordsman: Hagen Seibert
Man Inside the Earth: Yaniv Pesso
Dancing Monk: Brother George
White Horse: Spanish Stallion Altanero
Black Horse: Shire Horse Stallion Hawk Stone Tom
Man with Dove: Saiid Gheisari
Swami Ganga Bharti, Krishna Chandra, Prof. DDr. Wolfgang Dietrich, Joseph Moser, Rav Yaakov, Lama Irene, Dorje Drolma, Dr. Rahmi Oruç Güvenç, Brother George, Dr. med. Christoph Beckmann, Anat Ganor, Sami Awad
Patricia Chong, Meredith Maislen, Marianne Walter, Pradhuman Pratap Singh, Jabaharlal Bhurji, Pavel Carballido/Tlenahuatzin, Bert Gunn, Flora Schreiter, Sylvia Maciolek, James Jackson, Alper Akcay, Mitra Asadi
Written, directed and danced by Carola Stieber/Paramjyoti
Cinematography and editing: Eckart Reichl
Production: Devadasi - Dance of the Heart, Carola Stieber/Paramjyoti
Associate Producer: Eckart Reichl
Sound design: Frieder Zimmermann, Wolfgang Obrecht
Music supervisors: Carola Stieber, Frieder Zimmermann, Nora Gohl
Graphics and color grading: Julianna Michaelis
Color grading supervision: Jürgen Pertack, MSF Munich
DCP mastering: zweiB GmbH Munich
Eckart Reichl: 00491723512096, firstname.lastname@example.org, atelier-reichl.de
Paramjyoti: 00491625928545, email@example.com, devadasi.de, facebook.com/paramjyoti.stieber
Devadasi - Dance of the Heart, Faerberweg 5, D- 79790 Kuessaberg, Germany
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