Davide De Lillis, Julia Metzger-Traber – Rhizophora – 16:00, 2015


It has been forty years since the Vietnam War. Yet, its toxic remnants are not fading. In a place called The Friendship Village outside Hanoi, live one hundred young people with disabilities they inherited from their parents’ and grandparents’ exposure to Agent Orange in the 1960s. In this Video-poem eleven of the village’s residents lead us through the whimsical experience of a day in their lives. We are welcomed ever deeper into their richly symbiotic world as the day progresses.

The lines of realism and fantasy blur as they dance their way from dreaming to waking, find rhythm in their rice bowls and celebrate their shared tea with a mad and colourful party. As the real gradually gives way to the magical, they become more and more one with nature. Despite growing in toxic soil, like the ravaged mangrove trees of the coastal regions, interwoven roots make them strong, and thus breathtaking beauty is able to grow and reveal itself. Captured through the lens of a playful and intimate handheld camera, resilience shines through the limitations of the protagonists’ moving bodies.

“Rhizophora” was conceived of and realized in a collaborative process between the Seeds of PossAbility, the featured group of residents, and the Berlin based performing arts duo ¿Che.Ne.So?. It is both an attempt to raise awareness about the continuing devastation of the Vietnam War as well as an ode to the power of life, which can flourish in even the most toxic of circumstances.

Historical context:
Between 1962 and 1971, the US Airforce sprayed nearly 20,000,000 U.S. gallons of the herbicide Agent Orange over the jungles and fields of Vietnam, stripping the forests naked to reveal the human targets. Between 3 and 4 million Vietnamese have suffered severe health effects caused by genetic mutation from the chemicals in Agent Orange. The mutated DNA is passed down from generation to generation. The war ended 40 years ago, but Agent Orange lives on in people’s bodies and in the earth. No one knows how long it will take to dissolve if it is not cleaned up. So, something must be done.


Awards and Honors
• Most Moving Film – Festival of Recorded Movement 2020
• Environmental Film, Bronze Award – Global Independent Film Awards 2018
• (Dis)Ability Film, Bronze Award – Global Independent Film Awards 2018
• Audience Award – Portland dance Film Festival 2017


Davide De Lillis is a video artist, choreographer and somatic educator. With his work, he seeks to
inspire questions and conversations about the condition of human beings in today’s world. He constantly tries to push the borders of his comfort zone through collaborative risk-taking. He holds an MA from the University of Lincoln in Choreographing Live Art.

Julia Metzger-Traber is a performance and video artist, facilitator and peace worker. Not bound to a single genre or discipline, she allows the form to follow the demands of content. Her art-making is a vehicle for critical questioning, healing and reconciliation. She holds an MA from the University of Innsbruck in Peace and Conflict Transformation.


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