Epidemics of dance were one of the most mysterious plagues in medieval Europe. Historians disagree about what caused them: food poisoned with toxins, religious highs, or perhaps it was mass hysteria caused by long-term stress and the fear of hunger, war, or the Black Death. When Satan ordered people to dance, entire villages and towns fell into trances lasting a few days or weeks. The last epidemic of dance in Brussels took place in the 16th century, that is until a terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2014. Witnesses and neighborhood residents fell under a collective hypnosis: they went out into the street and could not stop dancing. This did not really happen, of course: it was just part of the social and artistic experiment underlying Hamsters. In this performance-art film, the director examines the concept of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. Brian Jenkins, a researcher on terrorist movements, argues that terrorism is theater-it develops like a play and has to have an audience. Doyen reverses this assertion: theater can be terrorism, and a mass happening on the street is a takeover of a public space.
Martine Doyen is a Belgian director and visual artist who lives in Brussels. Since 1995, she has been making both long and short experimental films on 8 mm film and videotape. Her feature debut, Komma, appeared in the Semaine de la Critique section at Cannes. Since 2009, she has been exploring the possibilities of improvisation in feature films, developing a method involving the spontaneous participation of actors/viewers. The films Tomorrow and Hamsters were based on this method, as is No Fun, which is currently in production.
1995 Herman le gangster (short)
1996 L'insoupçonnable univers de Josiane (short)
1997 Noël au balcon (short)
2001 Pâques au tison (short)
2016 CHOMIKi / HAMSTERs