Alec Haavik and Nicky Almasy’s The Lizard’s Journey is a Jazz journey through reptile transformation on a mountainside in East China

The Lizard’s Journey premiered at Lofas live house in Shanghai (17th Jan, 2021). The short film is a journey through the obstacles faced along the process of music creation (in this instance in the jazz genre) and is set to the surreal narrative of the protagonist’s transformation into a lizard. As the lizard explores the mountainside and caves of Moganshan he picks up a variety of woodwind instruments and riffs with them as he goes.

The body paint is stunning and striking in patterned green against the backdrop of the mist of the foothills. Haavik plays the lizard through a kind of reverse anthropomorphic behaviours including twitching and tongue movement whilst moving across the rocky terrain. This adds a sense of realism to the general surrealist feel of the film. Importantly the music jumps out at you at various stages through a series of crescendoing phases and quieter reflective moments (as we assume the lizard is struggling with the creative process).

When it’s over there is the combined sense that we have been on this journey with the lizard and a genuine sense of ‘what just happened’, but that can only be a good thing as the enacting of the concept and subsequent cinematography is never bland. The event was completed by an onstage interview with Alec and a film which interviewed Almasy and which also went behind the scenes of the project (which we learned had been in the works for many years from concept to completion). There were also some affectionate shout-outs to the body paint technicians and band members who were in attendance at the event, which overall made it a celebration of their combined achievements, the originality of which is rare on the Shanghai arts scene (if not the world).

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