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This short film is destigmatising mental health issues through spoken word and dance

Thalissa Teixeira is urging us to "keep talking" in her short film: We Met Before.

17 Jun 2022

Shorties spotlights films with bold ideas and fresh perspectives via an exciting new generation of POC filmmakers.

When a loved one falls ill, it can create space for new relationships to form in the wake of their struggle. Thalissa Teixeira urges us to keep talking in her directorial debut: We Met Before. Mimicking the motions of the human body in a coherent ensemble, We Met Before is the gentle yet evocative short film we are showcasing in our June instalment of Shorties

You may recognise Thalissa from Trigonometry, the BBC short series following a Black polyamorous relationship. Or maybe from her time in Miss Julie at the National Theatre, as well as being listed as a ‘Rising Star’ for theatre and television by the Guardian in 2020. We Met Before is a testament to Teixeira’s talent, creative vision and extensive repertoire. 

“The gap between music and theatre is dance”

Thalissa Teixeria, Aesthetic Magazine

This masterclass in movement and spoken word was very much a collaborative effort: Thalissa joined forces with choreographer Temitope Ajose-Cutting, filmmaker Jordan Rawi and composer Tim Doyle. After working with Ajose-Cutting at the National Theatre in 2018, the pair felt compelled to create a short film with words written by Teixeria and dance choreographed by Ajose-Cutting. The cast are a skillful troupe of top dancers and actors that move in synchronisation to the musical accompaniment. In Teixeira’s own words “the gap between music and theatre is dance.” 

The story follows the journey of a person who struggles with their mental health and shows how their friends rallied around them in their time of need. Thalissa recites a letter she wrote to this suffering friend, recalling the ups and downs of caring for a loved one. We Met Before is raw and honest in its exploration of mental illness and relationships. From fears of going to the hospital and hitting rock bottom, or cycling through temporary fixes without permanent cures, Teixeira’s candour is striking – everything is laid bare.

In 2020, it was reported that one in four people in England suffer with mental health problems, so it’s unsurprising that this short film has struck the hearts of so many. We Met Before had a successful independent film festival run: it was selected for both the Aesthetica Short Film Festival and the Norwich Film Festival in 2020, alongside being a semi-finalist in the ‘Best Experimental’ category at the 2020 Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival. It aims to encourage open conversations about mental health and dissolve the barriers that stop us from communicating.

Immerse yourself in the full film above.

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