The Ferryman

“The Ferryman” is a cinematic and choreographic exploration of animistic rituals roots, dance and sculpture, and their relevance nowadays.

Damien Jalet The Ferryman

Through the journey of a half-deer, half- hunter character (Damien Jalet ), the film is a metaphoric, poetic and visceral six-step ascent of a mountain, considered here a place of birth and death. Filmed in the stunning landscape of volcanic islands such as Bali, Japan and Scotland, as well as in Louvre museum, the ancestral and complex relationship of men and nature, often seen as a gateway between visible and invisible worlds, is portrayed here through a series of striking ceremonies (trance, cremations and sacrifices rituals in Bali, mountain worship in Japan), contemporary dance performances excerpts and words , narrated by performance artist Marina Abramovic. Oneiric and raw, blurring the line between archaic and contemporary, between documentary and fiction, this 70-minutes film, sometimes hauntingly scored by composer Ryuchi Sakamoto, is a fascinating , reflective and singular travel through the borders of the worlds.

The film has been shown in many international festivals and venues including Coda Oslo , Cinedans Amsterdam, De Singel Antwerp, Israel festival, KCUA Kyoto, Benaki Museum Athens, Musee de la chasse Paris , Cine-Corps Paris , Nuit Blanche Paris, Musee de Chamberry, Mexico Cinematheque..

A 56 min version was presented on a loop during Venice Biennale , part of Axel Vervoordt curated exhibition “intuition” at Palazzo Fortuny in 2017.

“The ferryman” won the Signs award “signes de nuit’ international festival in Lisbonne in 2017.

“The ferryman” won the “outstanding achievement award” at the Choreoscope film festival, Barcelona in 2018.

Download the film here.


A highlight of Venice Biennale…As part of the stunning exhibition “ ntuition” – the film underlines a beautiful link running between prehistorical creativity all the way into contemporary choreography, via shamanic trance, traditional rituals, and communion with nature.

Asia Times

For now, this incredible film and the genius of Damien Jalet is a wonderful reminder of dance’s power to transcend what is expected, bursting into technicolour like the most beautiful and rare exotic flowers. But beware, they have thorns and poisonous leaves.

The Fjord Reviews

In between 2013 and 2016, Gilles Delmas’ camera followed the dancer in these landscapes from the beginning of the world. It is rough and wild, calcined soil of large volcanoes, mossy trees whose trunks are entangled in the manner of bodies, landscapes of threatening rocks. Jalet, as world smuggler and shaman, summons the spells that bind man to the forces of nature. Challenged, the invisible manifests itself. It bends the bodies and animates them, pushes them to trance or absolute grace. Jalet experienced it, and remembers it when he choreographs. And the images of his work are superimposed on those of the Balinese dancers or Japanese monks. Smuggler of the worlds, he captivates the camera of Gilles Delmas who seizes the invisible in the movement of skies, the energy of the steps, or the elan of the big trees… the Ferryman is both a fascinating documentary and a work of art of a breathtaking beauty

Le Figaro

The climax of this exhibition, with the appearance of an initiation ritual, is undoubtedly The Ferryman, the film that Gilles Delmas shot with the choreographer and dancer Damien Jalet as a stag-man on the ascent of an ordalic mountain, a contemporary sister of the analogous Mount of René Daumal.




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