INSIGHTS — Stylez’c StalaMuerte

Rediscovering Movement and Its Magnetic Presence: Directors Arnaud Ele and Laura Knoops’ New Reflective Short

Arnaud Ele captures the freeform movement of Swiss dancer Stylez’C StalaMuerte in a new short.

“I aimed to create a narrative arc through movement and expression—enhanced by the use of darkness and light,” says Ele.

The story—art directed by Ele’s partner Laura Knoops—takes place in Berlin’s Art Deco underground stations. It depicts a journey through the stations, and illustrates the state and mindset that Stylez’c has developed in recent years—step by step, exploring his dreams and passion, remembering the challenges he faced, illustrated in archive footage.

This short documentary is the second collaboration between Ele and Stylec’z. Ele recently moved to Berlin, and when Stylez’c visited the German capital for two days, the pair embraced the opportunity to document their journey so far. While exploring the city, Stylez’c opens up about the determination that has permitted him to become who he is today.

“We wanted to divide the stills in two different spaces. The first one, in the metro stations, references the roots of the underground culture from which Stylez’c originates. The second space, in the studio, shows the abstract side of his practice and the personal connection between his body and movement. His style of moving is a fusion of hip-hop culture influencers and his own unique story. When he starts dancing he instantly has that magic,” says Knoops.

Born in the 1990s, Stylez’c is a descendant of the dance culture that accompanied the early days of ‘Juste debout’ in Paris, the premier competition for street-dance styles. It combines standing dance styles such as hip-hop, popping, locking, house and experimental. Stylez’c was the Winner of the ‘Juste Debout’ World Final 2019, as well as a finalist in 2017 and 2018 alongside his battle partner Diablo. Other accomplishments include: Fusion Concept World Final, KOD World Final, UK BBoy Championship Switzerland, two times Street Fighter Switzerland, two times Energie Urbaine, Juste debout Greece and Bolo1Contest. He is constantly traveling around the world to destinations suchs as Japan, USA, Italy, France, Greece and Spain, and participating in contests such as Cercle Underground and Ilovethisdance.

Also born in the 1990s, Director Ele studied filmmaking at the Geneva Film School. Following a trip back to his original home of Cameroon in 2015, where he spent the first five years of his life, Ele began exploring the notions of territory, identities and associated representations. He has become known not only for his fashion photography, but also for his documentary serieses in Switzerland and Cameroon, as well as his many video collaborations with artists, singers and dancers from the art scene in Switzerland. Wherever he goes, he focuses on the notion of intimacy, considering ways of inhabiting territories and their uses, as well as the way in which nature and human occupation intertwine. He has always endeavored to push the limits of documentaries. He reveals, under the innocuous appearance of their scenes, hidden stories. He defends the view of the human eye as a method of recording, and intimacy as a mode of description. His photographic work is the continuity of his training as a filmmaker—the intuitive scenario of the image and the exploration of new narrative forms, representing the moment with veracity.

Crazysweetnessworld Stylez’c x StalaMuerte @stylezc_huey

A story by: Arnaud Ele & Laura Knoops @eleknoops
Director, producer: Arnaud Ele @arnaud.ele
Creative director, graphics: Laura Knoops @knoops

Assistant DOP: Jérôme Depierre @depierrejerome
Editing: Constant Fernandez @constantfernandez
Color grading: One Hundred Berlin @onehundredberlin
Archive footage: Kotovych film @kotovych_film

Sound design: Arnaud Ele & Constant Fernandez
Soundtrack: Mick Jenkins — Piano

Styling: Carine Kuntz @kuntz.carine
Mua: Christin Sperlich

Special thanks to: AA Collected @aacollected