I saw the film last night, and just loved it. I hope I can see it again soon -- or get a DVD if one should be available. I didn't focus on the stylistic issues, but was more interested in the personal stories and the historical view. The writers carefully untangled the strands of all the companies called Ballets Russes travelling around the world, and explained the influence all the dancers and choreographers had on our current world of ballet.
The strength of character of each dancer comes through so intensely, and how very important and formative this period was in their lives impressed me tremendously.
The story of beautiful Raven Wilkinson, and the racism she endured was sad; the incident where the KKK actually came up on stage to try to find her, and no one moved a muscle was especially powerful. (There are other posts on Raven Wilkinson here, -- I don't know how to link to them in a "quick reply" -- and the recent interviews with Aesha Ash show that the situation has not changed as much as we would hope.) Raven tired of the battle after 5 seasons with Ballets Russes and they said in the film that she was never hired again in the US, though she worked in the Dutch National Ballet for many years. (added 11/1)
The many references to how very helpful and supportive Danilova was pleased me -- too often one hears very "catty" stories about those days. The rivalries are clearly described too!
But the main thrill of the film was seeing the dancers in the present time compared with photos and actual footage of them dancing in the various Ballets Russes Companies.
There were a few factual errors (they said Massine was the first to choreograph to a Symphony, when Fyodor Lopukhov had done it in 1923; and they said that deBasil was, in fact, a Colonel, and I am not sure that G. Blanchine said "Ballet is woman" while he was still in Europe for example), but none of consequence.
And, did anyone else, when seeing the costume for the "Coq d'Or" wonder if that's where Balanchine got the idea for that unwieldly gold costume he used for (maybe) one season on Kyra Nichols in Firebird in the late 70's??
Go see it if you are in New York now....take a look at the film's website to see where else it will play. Everyone there was moved, if not a bit teary-eyed.
Edited by ViolinConcerto, 01 November 2005 - 04:47 AM.