never twenty one

Smaïl Kanouté (France)

Never Twenty-one is first and foremost a film* co-directed with Kevin Gay and Henri Coutant denouncing the countless deaths – mainly caused by firearms – among the ostracized youth from the inner city in New York, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg.
Drawing from real accounts, three dancers resurrect the words of victims and their families. Through their bodies – all at once sculpture, space for assertion, objects of resilience, also memorials – they tell us of these lives sacrificed in an unavoidable, losing, game. Smaïl Kanouté summons very different physical and musical energies to probe absence, to question the absurdity of the situation, and to pay homage. Never Twenty-one… because their lives still matter.

Born in 1986, Smaïl Kanouté graduated from l’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. Today, he is a multifaceted artist, impassioned about any new formal dare.
On the fashion and design front, he has had successful collaborations with Xuli Bet, Ewans Mbugua and labels like Doc Martens, Panafrica Shoes… Self-taught on the theatre front, he became a performer for Raphaëlle Delaunay, Radhouane El Meddeb, Jeanne Added, Christin Bela, Epic Empire, Oxmo Puccino. In 2016, Smaïl Kanouté founded his own company to develop performative projects, and made his first piece of choreography, Les actes du désert, in 2019.

Smaïl Kanouté
Aston Bonaparte, Yann “Presher” Brelle, Smaïl Kanouté
Body painting
Lorela Disez
Sound & light design
Paul Lajus
Outside look
Moustapha Ziane
Espace 1789 (Saint Ouen), Les Ateliers Médicis–Clichy-sous-Bois (93), Visages du Monde – Cergy (95), Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine Saint Denis,
Le Cent Quatre – Paris (75),
Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs de Paris (75),
DRAC Ile de France
  • Prizes
    Best film (Dance on screen festival - Autriche)
    Documentary Prize (Urban film festival - France)
Follow Smaïl Kanouté / Cie VIVONS

his website
his facebook
Vivons company's instagram