Éva Fahidi is 90 years old. She has no track record whatsoever as a professional dancer. Yet this October, for the first time in her life, she is stepping on the boards to dance before an audience on the Home Stage of Vígszínház Theater in Budapest. During the rehearsals, she may have come up against the limits of her age, facing the inexorable facts of a body well ahead in years, yet she prevails in her defiance of age to prove for all of us that the joy of life and femininity is something we can hold on to against all odds. She may smile at her own bizarre undertaking, but she forges on with a power of will that puts the most energetic young dancers to shame.
The documentary is slated to condense in 50 minutes the rehearsals for a new dance project by The Symptoms, during which episodes of Éva’s life story and character unfold incrementally, interspersed with the process of preparation for the premiere. On her journey to the stage, Éva is accompanied by the dancer Emese Cuhorka, 60 years her junior, simultaneously cast in the role of the young Éva, her early-lost mother, her younger sister, and her never-born child. For Éva Fahidi is a Holocaust survivor who has once lost everything and, perhaps, everyone. Indeed, this overarching loss may be at the heart of her fanatical will to live, love life, and fly in the face of old age. She has earned the right — as she puts it — not to feel old, to remain a woman to the bone, and to live forever.
Tension mounts with the nearing of first night as we witness increasingly bitter skirmishes between doubt and confidence, vanity and acceptance. Toward the end, the stakes are raised to the point where it becomes quite doubtful whether the two will ever perform their Grand Duet together.
The film, already being shot as we speak, is permeated by Éva’s serene humor, constructive exhibitionism, and fully preserved femininity. Crying Will Get You Nowhere takes place in the present tense. It is the document of a major challenge here and now, which provides an occasion for us to dig down deep in search of Éva’s true motivations in an effort to comprehend the meaning of her life as a story locked in her body and, through it, to grasp our own shared history.
“The experience of being abandoned by your body is utterly painful. Especially when your body is important to you, which it may not be to everyone, or not to the same degree as it has been for me. Yes, it will come knocking on your door one day… Then it’s done, finished, over. You must cover it up because it has become abominable. This is the most severe punishment of all in old age. (…) But one cannot afford to feel miserable about things over which one has no control. And I do want to be happy.” (Éva Fahidi)