Nanarina

Fred Wiseman's New Documentary of The Paris Opera Ballet

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:clapping: October 2nd 2009, France 24 Culture, available on Satelite in the UK. I have just watched a itnterview on the Culture Spot, this evening giving details of a new documentary by the well known Film Maker Fred Wiseman about the Paris Opera Ballet. It is based on the same format as his earlier film about Ther American Ballet Theatre. Instead of direct dialogue with the performers he uses the sounds of the moment to bring the audience into the scene, and experience the life of the Company.

A total of 117 hours of film was shot, which has been edited to produce the end product.

I think this new work is to be released from the 6th October in Paris. Hopefully we will also gert the chance to see it in the UK, as we did the ABT documentary he made.

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:clapping: October 2nd 2009, France 24 Culture, available on Satelite in the UK. I have just watched a itnterview on the Culture Spot, this evening giving details of a new documentary by the well known Film Maker Fred Wiseman about the Paris Opera Ballet. It is based on the same format as his earlier film about Ther American Ballet Theatre. Instead of direct dialogue with the performers he uses the sounds of the moment to bring the audience into the scene, and experience the life of the Company.

A total of 117 hours of film was shot, which has been edited to produce the end product.

I think this new work is to be released from the 6th October in Paris. Hopefully we will also gert the chance to see it in the UK, as we did the ABT documentary he made.

There will be two screenings of the film during this month's BFI London Film Festival - October 15 at 6.30pm and October 16 at 1.30pm at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square.

http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/node/368

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:clapping: Thank you so much Bella 12, for posting details of the London showing of this film, leaving in Norfolk I would not have known about it in time to decide to go. Well I have now booked a seat for the 16th October to go and see it. As it is on at 13.30, I can get the train there and back quite easily. It is years since I went to the cinema. Just will have to find out where it is, and how to get there from Kings Cross Station.

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"Just will have to find out where it is, and how to get there from Kings Cross Station."

It couldn't be easier, Nanarina. The cinema is at 3, Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square. It's just a few stops on the Piccadilly line from King's Cross to Leicester Square . The Cranbourn Street exit from the station is clearly marked.

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here's the press release for the NYC run of the film:

LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET,

Frederick Wiseman’s Portrait of the Legendary Dance Troupe,

Has NYC Theatrical Premiere Wednesday, November 4 at Film Forum

Film Forum is pleased to present the U.S. theatrical premiere of LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET, opening Wednesday, November 4. Documentary master Frederick Wiseman’s 38th film in a career that has spanned more than 40 years, turns his attention to one of the world’s greatest ballet companies, the Paris Opera Ballet. The camera roams the vast Palais Garnier, an opulent 19th-century building: from its crystal chandelier-laden corridors to its labyrinthine underground chambers, from its light-filled rehearsal studios to its luxurious theater replete with 2,200 scarlet velvet seats and Marc Chagall ceiling. LA DANSE devotes most of its time to watching impossibly beautiful young men and women — among them Nicolas Le Riche, Marie-Agnès Gillot, and Agnès Letestu — rehearsing and/or performing seven ballets, including: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolf Nureyev, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz and Orpheus and Eurydyce by Pina Bausch. For balletomanes and the curious alike, LA DANSE serves up a scrumptious meal of delectable moments, one more glorious than the next, made even more precious by their ephemeral nature. LA DANSE will open in Los Angeles and Chicago on November 20 with a national rollout to follow.

LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET will have a 2-week engagement November 4-17 at Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. (W. of 6th Av.) with screenings daily at 1:15, 5:30 and 8:30.

Frederick Wiseman is one of the world’s leading practitioners of the observational documentary. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, BASIC TRAINING, PUBLIC HOUSING, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, and BALLET (on the American Ballet Theater). Critic Philip Lopate has called Wiseman “the greatest American filmmaker of the last 30 years.”

“Glorious. Typically rigorous and compelling. Wiseman not only highlights many stellar performances by the company’s star dancers but subtler matters of labour and logistics.

A superb portrait of the perennial pas de deux between art and commerce.”

– Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly (Toronto)

"An absolute treat for balletomanes." – Leslie Felperin, Variety

LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET (2009, 158 mins.) Director, Editor and Sound: Frederick Wiseman. Produced by Pierre-Oliver Bardet, Frederick Wiseman, Francoise Gazio. Photography: John Davey. Note: See press kit for a complete list of dancers and ballets. France/USA. In English and French with English subtitles. An Ideale Audience, Opera National de Paris, Zipporah Films production.

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:wub: Thank you Bella12 and rg for your posts. I am really looking forward to seeing the film, if Sasha Waltz's Romeo and Juliette is featured hopefully it will be with Aurelie Dupont and Herve Moreau who premiererd it. If it is as good as his film about ABT then it will be worth travelling to see. I wonder if a DVD will be released as it is something you can enjoy watching for a long time.

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These are the ballets shown in the film, according to a poster on Dansomanie:

http://www.forum-dansomanie.net/forum/view...sc&start=15

Casse Noisette: Jose Martinez, Nicolas Le Riche + Laetitia Pujul, Emilie Cozette

Paquita: Agnès Letestu + Hervé Moreau, Marie-Agnès Gillot, Manuel Legris + Dorothee Gilbert, Mathilde Foustey + Mathias Heymann (pas de trois), Paula( ?) + Simon( ?) (pas de trois)

Genus: Mathias Heymann, Myriam Ould-Braham, Dorothée Gilbert, Agnès Letestu, Mathieu Ganio, Jérémie Bélingard, Benjamin Pech.

Romeo et Juliette (Sasha Waltz): Aurélie Dupont + Hervé Moreau

Le Songe de Médée: Emilie Cozette( ?), Wilfried Romoli, Muriel Zusperreguy, Yann Bridard( ?)

Apparently there're no interviews. Just the camera following dancers and staff around.

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:wink: I have contacted the distributors of this new Fred Wiseman Documentary about The Paris Opera Ballet. They have informed me it will be realeased on DVD in approximatly six months time. The actual date will be published on their aite. I will post more details later.

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That is indeed excellent news. Although I love to see things like this in a theater, on a big screen with a better sound system than I have at home (and I love the exposure that dance gets when there's a film like this in circulation) Wiseman's style, like Robert Altman's, includes so many offside comments and sotto voce details that it really repays watching over several times.

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That is indeed excellent news. Although I love to see things like this in a theater, on a big screen with a better sound system than I have at home (and I love the exposure that dance gets when there's a film like this in circulation) Wiseman's style, like Robert Altman's, includes so many offside comments and sotto voce details that it really repays watching over several times.

:flowers: I am looking forwrd to seeing the film on the big screen. But will buy the DVD when it is released, as you rightly say there will hopefully be a lot to concentrate on and I will be able to watch it at home. My daughter got me a wide screen TV with surround sound, which is super for Ballet DVD's. It is a flat screen nearly 4ft wide.

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:thumbsup::clapping: I went to see this on Friday16th at the first viewing and enjoyed it very much. 2hrs 54 minutes of insight into this wonderful company. From the dancers to the cleaners were featured. Intermixed with views of the theatre from inside and outside From the lake in the basement complete with fish to the bee hive on the roof from where honey was collected

Fred Wiseman took you from rehearsals of a number of ballet, With the Etoile's down through the ranks to the Corp de Ballet. Gradually building up a picture of the near completion of the productions.

Most of these consisted of dress rehearsals, as no camera's were allowed in the auditorium, sppsrt from one which was positioned in the orchestra pit. This meant the scenes were filmed from the wings to one side of the stage. Which worked very well in the circumstances.

The Ballets featured were both modern and classical showing the variety of the POB repertoire, and included Songe de Medea, Nutcracker, Paquita and a very small snippet of Sasha Waltza's Romeo and Juliette. Sadly Fred Wiseman only arrived in Paris as this was finishing it's run, and was unable to feature very much in the film appart from a little of the Pas de deux (Berlioz's lovely Love scene music) The contempory works in addition to Medea which was rather extensively used were Genue

and another which I am not sure of it' title, it involved women in long black dresses and an oblong table. A lot of thumping and shouting by a male lead and the women. You may reconise it, but sorry I did not.

The different threads were all held together by the lovely waltz music from the ballroom scene in Paquita and other Ballets, It gave a brilliant picture of the workings inside the organisation, the rewards given to the Ballets benefactors. meetings and discussions about such things as retirement, pensions the Dancers welfare and treatment by the management.

I am not going to go into more detail, as I would not wish to spoil it for you if yoiu plan to see it.

All I will say is I thought it was really excellant, and would recommend it.

After the performance we had the chance to meet and speak with Frerderick Wiseman.and enjoyed a question and answer session. He kindly provided the details I have included in this post, and told us he had taken 130 hours of film, which was reduced to the final 2h 54m. He is an avid lover of Ballet and said he would have moved in, to the Opera if he could".A few members of the audience made suggestions to him regarding the film he quite happily accepted. I think if there had not been a later film show, some of them would have liked to spend more time chatting with him. It nicely rounded off the visit.

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" The contempory works in addition to Medea which was rather extensively used were Genue

and another which I am not sure of it' title, it involved women in long black dresses and an oblong table. A lot of thumping and shouting by a male lead and the women. You may reconise it, but sorry I did not."

Thank you for this. I also enjoyed the film enormously. As for the work you weren't able to identify, I believe it was Mats Ek's House of Bernarda Alba. I have to add that I found it a pity that Wiseman felt he didn't need to provide captions identifying the main dancers and choreographers. Of course he wouldn't have been able to identify everyone, but maybe the main dancers could have been identified the first time that they appeared? He said that he did not do this as he felt that people who knew the company wouldn't need the captions and that the rest of his audiences wouldn't need to identify the dancers. To be fair, he also said that he felt that captions would spoil the aesthetic effect of the film but I do wish he had found some way of getting around this problem as, for many of us, it would have added to the interest of an already fascinating film.

ps I hope you don't mind if I point out a typo. The McGregor work was Genus.

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I think the idea of Fred Wiseman was to show the ballet in the whole and that there were no main dancer but just dancers that work just the same, from étoiles to quadrilles

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HI Bella12 and Silvermash,

Were you at the Question and answer session? Because it was asked if the Dancers names could be mentioned, but you rightly say Fred Wiseman did not seem to want to do this. I think it is a shame, as I am partially sighted I could not always see .Even on the big screen it would have helped me to see who they were. At one stage I wondered if the stockier guy in Genus was Jeremie Belingard as there are photographs of him in it. It may seem strange but I often have to relie on their physique or style of dancing, if I cannot hear a voice.

In Jeremie's case it looked like his lower legs.I have to use special binoculars in a theatre and sometumes manage to see faces. Thank you the name of the other ballet. And spelling correction The E is near the S on the keyboard and I do hit the wrong keys at times. Though I must have missed it when I checked.

I think you are right about F.W.s motives, although he did not actually confirm this, He thought names would take up too much space as he woulld have to mention more than just one or two people when there were a number prescent.

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Yes I think the dancer you mentioned is probably Jérémie 'cause the other "short" dancer in Genus is Benjamin Pech and he was shown with Marie-Agnès Gillot... Other dancers were Mathias Heymann not very tall either but easy to recognise (the youngest) and Mathieu Ganio, quite tall with long limbs...

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From the Film Forum (NYC), where La Danse opens on November 4:

Film Forum

209 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10014

Box Office: 212-727-8110

LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET,

Frederick Wiseman’s Portrait of the Legendary Dance Troupe,

Has NYC Theatrical Premiere Wednesday, November 4 at Film Forum

Film Forum is pleased to present the U.S. theatrical premiere of LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET, opening Wednesday, November 4. Documentary master Frederick Wiseman’s 38th film in a career that has spanned more than 40 years, turns his attention to one of the world’s greatest ballet companies, the Paris Opera Ballet. The camera roams the vast Palais Garnier, an opulent 19th-century building: from its crystal chandelier-laden corridors to its labyrinthine underground chambers, from its light-filled rehearsal studios to its luxurious theater replete with 2,200 scarlet velvet seats and Marc Chagall ceiling. LA DANSE devotes most of its time to watching impossibly beautiful young men and women — among them Nicolas Le Riche, Marie-Agnès Gillot, and Agnès Letestu — rehearsing and/or performing seven ballets, including: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolf Nureyev, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz and Orpheus and Eurydyce by Pina Bausch. For balletomanes and the curious alike, LA DANSE serves up a scrumptious meal of delectable moments, one more glorious than the next, made even more precious by their ephemeral nature.

LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET will have a 2-week engagement November 4-17 at Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. (W. of 6th Av.) with screenings daily at 1:15, 5:30 and 8:30.

Frederick Wiseman is one of the world’s leading practitioners of the observational documentary. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, BASIC TRAINING, PUBLIC HOUSING, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, and BALLET (on the American Ballet Theater). Critic Philip Lopate has called Wiseman “the greatest American filmmaker of the last 30 years.”

“Glorious. Typically rigorous and compelling. Wiseman not only highlights many stellar performances by the company’s star dancers but subtler matters of labour and logistics.

A superb portrait of the perennial pas de deux between art and commerce.”

- Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly (Toronto)

"An absolute treat for balletomanes."

- Leslie Felperin, Variety

LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET
(2009, 158 mins.) Director, Editor and Sound: Frederick Wiseman. Produced by Pierre-Oliver Bardet, Frederick Wiseman, Francoise Gazio. Photography: John Davey. Note: See press kit for a complete list of dancers and ballets. France/USA. In English and French with English subtitles. An Ideale Audience, Opera National de Paris, Zipporah Films production.

For downloadable photos and press notes, go to:

http://www.filmforum.org/press

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Yes I think the dancer you mentioned is probably Jérémie 'cause the other "short" dancer in Genus is Benjamin Pech and he was shown with Marie-Agnès Gillot... Other dancers were Mathias Heymann not very tall either but easy to recognise (the youngest) and Mathieu Ganio, quite tall with long limbs...

Thank you very much Silvermash, I am surprised I did not reconise M. Gsnio snd M Heymann, as I have seen the later in person dancing Onegin, then afterwards at the stage door. So Jeremie was the other person, . I think he is lovely "it's those muscles you know!!!!I

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Thank you Carbro for the write up and photographs of La Danse, it sums it up pIt perfectly. Will you be able to go and see it? I am sure you would enjoy it.The time of performance is 2h 54m.

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Yes I think the dancer you mentioned is probably Jérémie 'cause the other "short" dancer in Genus is Benjamin Pech and he was shown with Marie-Agnès Gillot... Other dancers were Mathias Heymann not very tall either but easy to recognise (the youngest) and Mathieu Ganio, quite tall with long limbs...

Thank you very much Silvermash, I am surprised I did not reconise M. Gsnio snd M Heymann, as I have seen the later in person dancing Onegin, then afterwards at the stage door. So Jeremie was the other person, . I think he is lovely "it's those muscles you know!!!!I

Mathieu Ganio is only there a short moment with Agnès Letestu in Genus... They both got injured and only danced a show or two I think, being replaced by Emilie Cozette and Stéphane Phavorin

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There's an interview with Wiseman on the arts.meme site here. (you may have to click around in the site -- I can't find a specific url for the interview)

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David Denby has a brief notice in this week's New Yorker. I put his conclusion in bold type.:

Fanatical artistic dedication is also the subject of Frederick Wiseman’s “La Danse,” a portrait of the Paris Opera Ballet. Miller lets us know, with titles, who is performing and where; Wiseman, proceeding in his customary manner, presents long scenes without identifying anyone. We’re on our own, which makes us feel, as Wiseman haunts the stairways, rehearsal studios, and watery subterranean corridors of the Palais Garnier (the Ballet’s home), that we have become, with him, phantoms of the opera.

The Ballet is a huge organism, at the center of which is Brigitte Lefèvre, the tentacular administrative head. She’s a little overbearing, and Wiseman, with evident pleasure, turns back to the dancers, whom he photographs not in the manner of the commercial cinema, where bodies are broken up into threshing limbs, but in full frame, top to bottom, with space around them, so that we can see the incredible moves the dancers are capable of, along with, inevitably, their mistakes, missteps, and gradual improvements.

So many of Wiseman’s films have been about institutions (a police force, a battered-women’s shelter) that didn’t work well, or that merely penned up broken-down Americans who fall off the tracks of economic and physical success. It’s a joyous experience to see an institution in full flower—to see not dereliction and disorder but the many forms of striving and virtue.

[Edited to add: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cine...y?currentPage=2

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at a reception for Frederick Wiseman on the eve of the opening of his newest film in NYC, the promotional card, scanned below, was available.

at another gathering late last week the director noted that, if i recall correctly, the number of hours of 'raw' footage for this film were the most he's ever taken before making his final edit. (he also noted that the out-take hours, some 148 or so of them, would be deposited in the Library of Congress and eventually probably available to 'researchers' etc.)

re: said edit he told a questioner last night that he edits his films all by himself and that no one sees the result until his finally finished.

when asked about his gift for getting his subjects to seem unaware of his presence, he said he had no answer but that one should never underestimate the power/element/factor (i forget this precise word) of narcissism.

f.y.i.

post-848-1257366863_thumb.jpg

post-848-1257366872_thumb.jpg

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when asked about his gift for getting his subjects to seem unaware of his presence, he said he had no answer but that one should never underestimate the power/element/factor (i forget this precise word) of narcissism.

:clapping:

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