La danse : Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris

Dir: Fred Wiseman 2009/US/158mins

July 2010 saw the DVD release of the critically-acclaimed documentary from US director Fred Wiseman. Wiseman was granted exclusive access to the Paris Opera Ballet, one of the world’s most revered ballet companies, as they prepare for their 2008 season.

With a wealth of talent to film, Wiseman wastes no time, taking us behind the scenes into the studios, management meetings and backstage. Through the course of the film, he uncovers the elaborate process of staging dance; from its embryonic stage of rehearsal to the exhilarating performances in front of an audience. And with a programme that includes Nureyev’s version of The Nutcracker, Pina Bausch’s Orphée and Eurydice, Wayne Macgregor’s Genus and Mat Eks’ La Maison de Bernarda, Wiseman’s love of dance and his understanding of how best to film it shines throughout.

Eschewing all conventional methods of documentary film making – voice overs, captions and musical score, Wiseman’s film champions a unique style of ‘cinema -verité’. Positioning himself in a corner of a room, he manages to capture all the intricacies of the artistic evolution, soaking up the minutiae in a series of long, beautifully-shot takes. The film also exposes the on-going battle between creativity and commerciality, and includes a timely conversation between the Paris Opera and New York City Ballet as they navigate the logistics of an important charity benefit-funded by the now defunct US financial giants Lehman Brothers.

With dance taking centre stage, Wiseman’s film offers a breathtaking insight into the world of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. A fitting portrait to its enduring appeal and all those who contribute La Danse is a breathtaking celebration of the union between mind, body and soul.

Rodney Rhule -Film Programmer.

One response to “La danse : Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris”

  1. Agathe on 8/11/2010 at 16:34 Agathe

    Merci Rodney, pour ces informations sur ce beau film à voir ou revoir.

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