AFI Film Festival Highlight: “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet”

LadanseFamed documentarian, Fredrick Weisman returned to Paris to shoot the documentary feature, “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet”. “La Danse” is one of the documentaries highlighting the 2009 AFI Film Festival.

In the film, Weisman allows us to voyeur into the world of the ballet behind the scenes. We see rehearsals in the studios and on stage, the costume making department, and the administrative offices of the artistic director. He allows the audience us to sit in on meetings with the artistic director as she meets with budgeting committee, her choreographers and her teachers. We get an even more personal view as the artistic director has a heart-to-heart or one-on-one with one of her dancers, who at over 25,  is fearful of not being able to perform the demanded jumps and plies that a performance often requires. The director assures the dancer that she would not have to participate in every dance and that reassurance seems to be just what is needed.  The realities of putting on a costly production are looked at as well, as life as a dancer is shown as well. There is a company meeting where retirement packages for a dancer in the Paris Opera Ballet is discussed and reminded that a dancer’s life ends at 40.

Lovers of all dance genres will love this look at dancing. Shot in France with English subtitles, there are beautiful aerial looks at Paris. Final performances at the end, bring the film full circle.

Running Time: 2hr 38 min Production Company: Zipporah Films, Inc./Ideale Audience
Producer: Frederick Wiseman, Pierre-Olivier Bardet
Cinematographer: John Davey
Editor: Frederick Wiseman
Sound: Frederick Wiseman

In theaters, Wednesday, November 4th

Check out the trailer for the film below:

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