Doing away with the dark, sweaty, neon punctuated clubs and warehouses most often associated with the scene, Lisbon born, London based Director João Retorta’s (last seen on DN here) Prayer (МОЛИТВА) music video for electronic duo Prospa, provides a euphoric exploration of our endless quest for escapism and release as it journeys into the mindset of key archetypes of the rave scene. Watch it below, after which Joao takes DN behind the scenes of this ‘non-documentary’ short film.

The concept for the video came to life as a direct reaction to the label’s brief that was something within the lines of “For Prospa’s Prayer we want to create a journey to a rave” which made me wonder, why don’t we create a journey to the raving mind instead? I was quite interested in making a film that took the fundaments of ‘rave’ and that reflected on it at a psychological level rather than at its settings. I wanted to explore its euphoric sentiment and our endless quest for escapism in a film that is 100% about rave yet never calls its name out loud.

I wanted to create a piece that seems to exist in a sort of limbo between documentary and fiction, when in fact there’s no ‘truth’ to any of it.

Feeding primarily from the song’s title Prayer I imagined a sort of utopian scenario that is set at a glorious ex-soviet location where a group of kids rave non-stop. 24/7. Their nirvana if you like. Their idea of religion. I wanted to create a piece that seems to exist in a sort of limbo between documentary and fiction, when in fact there’s no ‘truth’ to any of it. There’s nothing documentary about Prayer. It’s a fully scripted film.

It was important for me that it felt and looked quite euphoric, slightly chaotic and totally disjointed. But I was also aware of the need to have some clarity in it and a very blurred structure/storyline for the viewer to follow. Therefore, I created 4 characters that guide us through the film. These are inspired by a few archetypes of people that I’ve dealt with in past raving experiences and their scenes, sound bites and subs depict their respective personalities and POVs.

Prayer was shot on a very long day in Kiev, Ukraine by Canadian Cinematographer Norm Li, CSC on Kodak 16mm film and was produced by Nick Hayes at Bullion (UK) and Dasha Deriagina at 2332 Films (Ukraine). I cannot praise these guys and the whole crew and cast enough! The film was then brought back to the UK where it was brilliantly cut by Brendan Jenkins @ Ten Three and beautifully graded by Joseph Bicknell @ CHEAT.

Prayer is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.

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