Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Ballerina The Movie


  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#31 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,902 posts

Posted 26 July 2009 - 11:53 AM

After watching this film I wonder if dancers really make for good film subjects. Their lives seem rather limited to hard work and endless rehearsals, and most of them are rather private people. On a related note, for the first time ever this summer I went a couple times to the stage door and met a few ABT dancers. On the whole I was surprised by how these flamboyant, charismatic performers onstage offstage were on the whole very quiet, withdrawn, if all very polite. I see this in the film "Ballerina" too -- only Obraztsova has the kind of outgoing, talkative personality that makes for a good film subject. Normand seemed unable to penetrate the layers of reserve in the other dancers. This isn't like "Elusive Muse," in which the filmmakers were able, I thought, to get Farrell to open up in a frank and compelling way about her life.

#32 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,345 posts

Posted 26 July 2009 - 12:56 PM

After watching this film I wonder if dancers really make for good film subjects. Their lives seem rather limited to hard work and endless rehearsals, and most of them are rather private people.

I think these dancers didn't necessarily make for good film subjects, although Vishneva came across with star-like quality. It could be because younger dancers have everything to lose by speaking publicly. I could listen to Farrell, Tallchief, Kistler, Danilova, Hayden, Baronova, d'Amboise, Russell, and Tchinarova (Finch) talk forever, and in the instances where I've seen them filmed backstage or coaching, they've been great. (I like hearing Kent, but not in huge doses.) I've never seen them in extensive film interviews, but dancers like Christensen, Sibley, and Gable, to give a few examples, fascinated me in "Striking a Balance", and Lynn Seymour comes across with a distinctive voice in her autobiography, "Lynn".

I found the coaches in the "Ballerina" film the most interesting.

#33 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,902 posts

Posted 26 July 2009 - 01:36 PM

Helene, I think you're right -- those dancers are all retired, and more likely to open up about their lives and career in a candid way. But Normand seemed unable to get very close to his subjects for whatever reason.
I also compared this film to "Etoiles," a film about the Paris Opera Ballet, that for some reason I found much more interesting. I particularly remember how harsh Claude Bessy appeared in that film.

#34 Cygnet

Cygnet

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 734 posts

Posted 26 July 2009 - 02:24 PM

Helene & Canbelto, I totally agree with your points. Of the two films, "Etoiles" seemed to get to the bottom of each Paris Opera principal's personality & motivation. For me, the
most insightful interview was Osta's in her dressing room. Furthermore, "Etoiles" closed the circle with the retirement performance of Elisabeth Platel's Sylph, and the company reception afterwards.

Normand stated at the time that he wanted to capture the different stages of the professional life of a Maryinsky female dancer. Both Somova and Obratzova weren't too forthcoming, but Obratzova was indeed the most "on" and animated of the two. True, when a dancer is just starting out, and they aren't established, they have to watch what they say. They won't open up. Obratzova admitted this with a nervous smile. She said, ". . . it's hard to know what others think of you. You may think things are alright, but they aren't necessarily. You have to be careful." The established primas, Uliana, Diana and Sveta didn't seem to volunteer anymore than what was asked by Normand.

#35 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,902 posts

Posted 26 July 2009 - 02:39 PM

Cygnet, I think the difference with "Etoiles" was with that film I thought I got a much better picture of life as a dancer in the POB, for better or for worse. I did feel that Normand only skimmed the surface with "Ballerina." Part of being a good documentarian is being able to penetrate the subjects, and I didn't think Normand was all that successful on that front. Perhaps younger ballerinas do have to watch what they say, but I know that soon after the film was made Zakharova defected to the Bolshoi and afterwards gave some harsh interviews about the reasons she left. None of that discontent (which must have been brewing) is caught on film. Vishneva and Lopatkina are also ballerinas I've seen not mince words in interviews, so I think a better film could have been made.
Another very good documentary about a ballet company is Frederick Wiseman's "Ballet."


1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):