De Geheime Kamer

The Secret Room
A Documentary by JANICA DRAISMA
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funded project
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About the project
LOCKLINEThe secret room, a poetic documentary about theater, life, death and belonging, in which reality and fiction mix and mingle.

Balancing on the edge between documentary and fiction, THE SECRET ROOM takes us into the unique and sometimes claustrophobic universe of the international theatre group Odin Teatret, founded in 1964 by the Italian director Eugenio Barba (1936) and based in Holstebro, Denmark, where it exists for over fifty years now. 

In her quest for a place to belong and hoping to find the secret room of Odin Teatret, we follow filmmaker Janica Draisma who accompanies Eugenio Barba on a journey by train to the place where he grew up and where his father is buried: Gallipolli, Italy, where he is now going to be venerated as honorary citizen.

During the journey, which in the film, is intertwined with intimate interviews with Eugenio and his actors, historical 16MM footage and fragments from rehearsals and performances, and together with Janica, we get to know Eugenio and Odin Teatret. We learn how its members go through periods of crisis and fame, sorrow and joy, clashes and reconciliation, but still manage to survive. Growing closer to Eugenio, Janica finds out that he has many faces. He is the Minotaur in the labyrinth, the captain on the ship and the father of the family. Although he himself and the actors of his company actors are aging, some dying and one even being murdered, and regardless of what is fashionable in society, Eugenio continues to live up to his political and theatrical ideals and dreams, trying to keep his family together. For half a century he’s been inspiring his actors to bring the many characters of their imagination to life, making them move in and out of fiction, embodying all the ranges of our human behavior and dark emotions and mounting this on stage, day after day, year after year. How do they do it? Who are they when they don’t act or perform? Do Eugenio and his actors know this themselves?

Despite her efforts, the secret room of Odin Teatret remains hidden. Gradually Janica discovers, that apart from the beauty and richness of it all, she finds herself once again, caught up in a pretty unusual family, mirroring the one of her youth, which she tried so much to escape from. But this is how life provides us with lessons and opportunities to let go and grow.

The secret room - where memories come to life and emotions flourish - is not a place to be found out there. It exists within us. That is where we truly belong and that is where we find our real guru. But the journey towards it can take a lifetime.


Quote that inspired the maker

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts...
This project was successfully funded on 02-12-2014

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