La danse: Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris

July 23, 2010 at 12:56 am | Posted in Dance Review, Film Review | 3 Comments
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Another 2010 Wellington International Film Festival : I went to see La danse:: Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris .

This documentary by Frederick Wiseman has not real structure: it is 4 (or is it 5 ?) days in the life of the Paris Opera Ballet company. Much of the footage is of ballet: reherasals and performances. The rest of the footage is fly-on-the-wall views of meetings – mainly with Brigitte Lefèvre, the Company’s artistic director.

Wonderfully shot – Paris seems a magnificant place, the Opera house and surrounds just wonderful. Some of the Company’s rehearsal spaces are lit by natural light from big circular windows. The Company’s reputation for flair and flawless technique is confirmed.

The documentary lets the image tell the story, so there are no voice overs or captions to tell you who is in what sequence, nor what work is being rehearsed or performed, nor what the ocassion might be. You only findout that Brigitte Lefèvre is the artistic directory, because it is bought up in conversation – in as much as you can have a conversation with a near devine entity as an artistic director! The dance bits, and they are the vast majority, explain themselves. But the union and company meetings about retirement age will be forever a mystery.

The film is well worth seeing if you have a serious interest in ballet – otherwise wait for the DVD, so that you can break it up. If seeing it at a theatre make sure to park the car somewhere you can leave it for a minimum of 3 hours!



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  1. […] film is made in the same style as Wiseman’s La danse: fly-on-the-wall over a few days, apparently without much […]

  2. […] film is made in the same style as Wiseman’s La danse: fly-on-the-wall over a few days, apparently without much […]

  3. […] In the film, Neve Campbell (playing dancer Loretta ‘Ry’ Ryan) joins the Joffrey Ballet (playing itself), and the audience is given a view of a top professional company – at rehearsal, performing, and the lives of the dancers. It is like watching a smoothly scripted version of La Danse. […]

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