Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Etoiles - Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet|
Actors: Laurent Hilaire, Aurélie Dupont, Elisabeth Platel, Nicolas Le Riche, Manuel Legris
Director: Nils Tavernier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Biography focusing on the many dancers of the famed Paris Opera Ballet, and follows them as they practice and prepare for a number of shows.
More than just behind the scenes...
apchan | Bay Area, CA | 02/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A variety of experiences are presented through interviews with members of the company, from the principal dancers (etoiles) to the understudies. It allows us to hear first-hand the opinions on issues such asthe pressures of being an etoile; the decision whether to start families from both the male and female dancer's perspectives; the reservations a former etoile has about her daughter's career choice, who is now in the company, as well as the pressure that daughter feels being the child of a former etoile; dancers who love dancing more important than life itself, to dancers who appear more cynical, and seem to take dancing as more of a career than a passion; the labors of the understudies to learn ALL the choreography knowing full well they will likely not get to perform them, but hopefully wait in the sidelines just in case...; dancers who have stage fright, etc.
You see how physically difficult dancing is, not just the beautiful illusion that is portrayed on stage. You see the process of rehearsal, including arguing like "No, you need to put your hand HERE, or else you'll drop me." You see the lines drawn on the stage to help dancers hit their mark; you see the beautiful swan-like ballerinas with sweat pouring down their faces during a performance; you see them leap gracefully on stage, and once they're backstage they pace about holding their backs and stomachs, panting in exhaustion just as a marathon runner would; you see rehearsals and find out how beneath the music, the chorus dancers sound like stampeding horses because of the pointe shoes; and the dancers bandaging their blisters, describing how uncomfortable rock hard pointe shoes are.
These are things you don't get to see and don't know about unless you are a dancer yourself. Throughout the film, scenes are intercut with black & white photographs which were taken at the same time, and the effect is very jarring and beautiful.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in the gritty reality of ballet, and to see how much heart and hard physical labor goes into the making of something so smooth and graceful when it makes it to the stage. If you're looking for performances, though, you will be very disappointed. There is not one complete performance in the entire dvd. This documentary focuses on what leads UP to the performance, and stops there."
apchan | 04/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is well-done, and 'a voyeur's look' at the Paris Opera Ballet, as promised. You do get a good behind the scenes look at this great company, how dancers are trained, how they work in both rehersal and performance, even how they make-up for a performance. My big criticism, though, is that the subtitles get cut off at the bottom. Usually the line, or the second line if there are 2 lines of text, is cut so that you only see the top half (or less) of the letters. This is a huge distraction as its hard to follow. The camera shots then seem too fast and chaotic, probably because it takes so much more time to decipher the subtitles that by the time you get it the picture's changing again. I'm not sure if it was meant for the wide screen, and they never edited the frames for a television, but I think this could have been avoided. It doesn't exactly ruin it, but it definitely detracts."
Subtitles cut off
J. Bousman | 09/28/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you speak french this dvd is probably fine - but for me there are better dvd's that focus on a dancer's life in a ballet company. The subtitles were cut off at the bottom and on the sides so you either looked at the dvd without knowing what was being said or you struggled to figure out the subtitles since they were only partially shown."
Bejart's Ninth Symphony
tulip | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To be able to see some portions of Bejart's'Ninth Symphony" itself is worth owning this DVD. I wish they have the entire performance recorded to be released. Like other reviewers I really think this is a well-made documentary."