Firedance is a story of love gone up in flames. By turns whimsical and horrific, the film uses color and fire to express the deluded passion of its hero. The film begins in the black and white tones of Frederic’s reality, as he sits at home, heartbroken, rereading Sandy’s parting note to him: ‘Since I met Ken, I rediscovered color. I hope your understanding will be stronger than your pain."
But Frederic dwells on glorified memories of their love, and his pain becomes unbearable. He can see only one way to ease his torment: to burn the photo of Sandy, the source of his pain. He does not understand that he cannot destroy his past, without ultimately destroying himself.
Frederic becomes hypnotized by the dance of the flames, until his love appears in the room with him. Enwrapped in memories of her, he retreats into a trance, entering a fantasy world where they dance a dance of seduction and desire, to the death. His Vision begins, and fantasy turns his gray life into color, as tinted dreams replace reality.
Sandy dances for Frederic, wooing and enticing him. Though he tries, he cannot withstand the spell she is weaving, and after some resistance he gives in and joins the dance. The scenery changes as Ken, Frederic’s rival appears. The past repeats itself even in Frederic’s fantasy, as Sandy break away to leave Frederic for Ken, and our hero holds her back. Sandy struggles, but this time Frederic will do anything to keep her, even if it means she must die.
The photo drops and fire flares up. We dive back into Frederic’s sad black and white world, to discover only ashes where fire has engulfed the apartment. His charred body is like the remains of his happiness, his fantasy, and his life. The effect is at once trippy and sobering.
Firedance-Facts: Shot in 1993 on 16mm Color- & BW Kodak Reversal-Film. Running time 12 Minutes. Starring: John Philp as Frederic, Janet C. Ehrlich as Sandy.
Written and directed: Philipp Müller-Dorn
Firedance was shown at the 1994 Alphabet City Underground Film Festival in New York.