The Pharaoh’s Daughter

January 26, 2012 at 9:17 am | Posted in Ballet Review, DVD Review | Leave a comment
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I found this DVD in my regular library, and saw that it was a ballet by Pierre Lacotte d’apres Marius Petipa. "Petipa?" I thought, "that's not I know", so I got out.

It turns out to be a 'lost' work, carefully reconstructed by Pierre Lacotte, and danced by the Bolshoi Ballet in 2004.

Svetlana Zakharova is the Princess Aspicia – the Pharaoh’s daughter. Serguei Filin is Taor, Aspicia’s eventual husband. Maria Aleksandrova is Ramze – Aspicia’s slave.

The ballet revolves around these three characters. Aspicia loves Taor, but must marry the King of Nubia to seal a treaty. So Aspicia and Toar run away. They are eventually caught, but Aspicia’s love eventually convinces the Pharaoh to let her marry Taor.

Zakharova, Filin, and Aleksandrova and the soloist are great. The corp are also very good – never have a I seen an entire corp execute grand jetes to the same high standard and in time to each other and to the music.

It is an excellent ballet, it is an early work of Petipa’s and the roots of his later works can be seen. Though it is hard to tell if Lacotte has been influenced by the later better known (and better preserved) works. The extra material on the DVD contains an interview with Lacotte, describing him tracking down dancers taught by dancers who had worked with Petipa (or taught by those who had); Lacotte also located collections of notes and manuscripts from people whose family members were involved with Petipa’s circle.

The story is straight forward and easy to follow, and the dancing superb.

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Midnight in Paris

January 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Spoiler: plots details present.

I am not normally a fan of Woody Allen films, but this was surprising interesting and humorous. Marion Cotillard gives a wonderfully enchanting performance, and Owen wilson plays Woody Allen better than Woody Allen! If they ever make a film about Woody Allen, Wilson will play him.

In Midnight in Paris, Gil Pender, a successful, but dissatisfied Hollywood scriptwriter, experiences an epiphany while on holiday in Paris. Gil (Owen wilson) is able to escape the cloying mundane company of his fiancee (Rachel McAdams) and her parents, in the present, to Paris in the 20’s. There/where/when he meets all sorts personalities, including: Cole Porter, F Scott Fitzgerald (and Zelda), Earnest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Dali, and Adriana.

Gil strikes up a relationship with Hemingway, Stein and Adriana. Who restore his flagging ambition to be a writer – Hemingway: “You must be fearless”. Adriana (Marion Cotillard) is beautiful and enchanting – a muse and object of desire for the early impressionists – in Paris to study with Coco Chanel.

Gil achieves , via a yellow Peugeot Landaulet 184, that goes drives through Paris at midnight – shades of the ‘Ghost Bus’ from Harry Potter. Gil and Adriana even manage a visit to the Moulin Rouge and Maxims in the 1890’s.

In the end, Gil chooses to stay in the Paris of today to write, but must also choose which women to stay with.

I am going to see this again.

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