Jump to content


Fred Wiseman's New Documentary of The Paris Opera BalletWill Be Available on DVD


  • Please log in to reply
179 replies to this topic

#31 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,435 posts

Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:20 AM

to repeat: i didn't mean to imply that anyone listening to the question noted above as posed to Wiseman made reference to the dancers themselves.
it's a given that performers are performers.
Wiseman's remark was aimed at the NON-performers in his films, only two of which concern dancers and many of which contain scenes in which one is often amazed to see how individuals behave 'on the record'- don't forget ABT director Jane Hermann's angry phone call to the Met Opera House presentations office in BALLET complete with the f-word. no one at conversation on Tues. with Wiseman was likely naive enough to be amazed at the ease or freedom of the Paris dancers as they "lived' lives for the cameras.

#32 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:26 AM

it's a given that performers are performers.


Actually, there's some debate on this, I think--in that some can "turn it off" while others can't (most of whom I worked for, alas). Your point re the Wiseman documentary is clear; I still find performers by and large to be narcissistic (guilty as charged!).

#33 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,440 posts

Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:40 PM

Wiseman's remark was aimed at the NON-performers in his films, only two of which concern dancers and many of which contain scenes in which one is often amazed to see how individuals behave 'on the record'- don't forget ABT director Jane Hermann's angry phone call to the Met Opera House presentations office in BALLET complete with the f-word.


This is one of Wiseman's gifts, or perhaps more accurately, a product of his skills as a filmmaker -- he captures some very naked moments in the environments he studies. It's fascinating to see when it's a world I'm familiar with -- when it's a place I don't know well, it's even more stunning.

His work is perhaps the closest to actual cinema verite that we have.

#34 4mrdncr

4mrdncr

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 670 posts

Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:03 PM

Wiseman's remark was aimed at the NON-performers in his films, only two of which concern dancers and many of which contain scenes in which one is often amazed to see how individuals behave 'on the record'- don't forget ABT director Jane Hermann's angry phone call to the Met Opera House presentations office in BALLET complete with the f-word.


This is one of Wiseman's gifts, or perhaps more accurately, a product of his skills as a filmmaker -- he captures some very naked moments in the environments he studies. It's fascinating to see when it's a world I'm familiar with -- when it's a place I don't know well, it's even more stunning.

His work is perhaps the closest to actual cinema verite that we have.

I've always admired Mr. Wiseman, his work, and verite methods. I also admire the 'honesty' he elicits from his subjects/participants. But apropos, there are many U.S. (and European) journalistic and broadcast standards that regulate "editorial control" to prevent the subjects of documentaries from trying to control what is said, how, when, or where, or consequently turning a documentary into a "puff piece" or propaganda. So, if Mr. Wiseman followed those rules--and I'm sure he did--then, I'm not sure Ms. Hermann could have asked/or required that particular phone conversation be edited from the final production. Personally, I am glad she couldn't or didn't, and that Mr. Wiseman kept it in. It is an 'honest' view of the sometimes protracted negotiating that happens behind-the-scenes to give us the illusion of an effortless company performance. I applaud Mr. Wiseman, and ABT for that.

Unfortunately, the subject of my doc (or his lawyers?) did not understand this principle of 'editorial control' and it has taken many months of (normally unnecessary) expensive legal negotiating to convince him/them that their original request for what could and could not be shown,or veto power :off topic: , (beyond following normal standards of "privacy"), would prevent my being able to broadcast the documentary on PBS or anywhere else such journalistic standards exist.

#35 MakarovaFan

MakarovaFan

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 461 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 08:13 AM

My Mom and I are seeing La Danse tomorrow and we're very excited. We wanted to go today but not with the Yankees parade chaos downtown.

#36 Nanarina

Nanarina

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 563 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 08:49 AM

:off topic: Markarovafan - I hope yiou will both enjoy it, as I did. My only complaint would be that I would have preferred less of Songe de Medea, it is certainly not my favourite ballet, but I like
Marie Agners Gilot, she is a pretty good dancer, but wasted in this ballet I feel. I think Fred Wiseman's intention is to let his films speak for them selves, without the need for interviews, and in this and the ABT earlier film he seems to achieve this.

#37 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 10:19 AM

Unfortunately, the subject of my doc (or his lawyers?) did not understand this principle of 'editorial control' and it has taken many months of (normally unnecessary) expensive legal negotiating to convince him/them that their original request for what could and could not be shown,or veto power :off topic: , (beyond following normal standards of "privacy"), would prevent my being able to broadcast the documentary on PBS or anywhere else such journalistic standards exist.


I don't understand this part of your post. What is your doc? Is it also about dance or performers?

#38 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 10:49 AM

Ray, 4mrdncr's documentary is most certainly about dancers. On this thread, she describes some of the earlier hitches along the way -- blame them on Mother Nature. And here's a link to the trailer. <--invalid link. (See below.)

Edited by carbro, 06 November 2009 - 01:21 PM.
To keep readers from wasting their time in pursuit of an expired link.


#39 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 01:05 PM

Ray, 4mrdncr's documentary is most certainly about dancers. On this thread, she describes some of the earlier hitches along the way -- blame them on Mother Nature. And here's a link to the trailer.


Thanks! But the trailer does not play--in place of a dancing figure are the words "303: failed to load a resource."

#40 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 01:15 PM

Apologies. :wink: I now remember that 4mrdncr said she had to withdraw the trailer because it had been copied to other sites without her authorization -- in other words, copyright infringement.

#41 4mrdncr

4mrdncr

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 670 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 04:25 PM

Thanks Carbro for providing the "backhistory" links to my documentary and trying to link to its trailer. I'm grateful. But actually I didn't withdraw the trailer from dancemedia.com, because I still believe it is (as I originally requested because of the contractual and copyright issues) "read only" there.

However, I did request that footage of a performance I had shot, but not released, be removed (by the choreographer who had posted it)from YouTube because of music rights issues, which I believe has now been done.

Problems viewing the Trailer, are usually due to dancemedia.com's server problems. Several times, access was unavailable because of this. I had originally thought it was non-computer-techie-me, or my ancient computer. But as you see, others have difficulties too.

Hopefully, Ray, this link will work... http://www.dancemedia.com/v/1528
I hope you enjoy it. ALL comments welcome here .

Progress Report: Rather slow, mostly due to the economy, and my need to spend time on survival rather than the film, but nevertheless, moving forward.

#42 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,440 posts

Posted 08 November 2009 - 04:55 PM

Debra Levine talks about the film here in an article on documentaries with Doug Cummings.

#43 Amy Reusch

Amy Reusch

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,757 posts

Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:36 PM

What a beautiful film. How beautifully shot!

I hope I haven't said too much... perhaps this should have a spoiler warning?

I was a little shocked by the Tallchief comment… one could say so many things about the dancers of earlier generations… one could say things about Nureyev after all… but why? They trained under different circumstances to different standards, it was a different world… who knows how they would have looked were they trained as today’s dancers are trained? I was less shocked even if surprised when Farrell’s mannerisms were described as flaws that now others copy, because I can see how someone who had been meticulously trained not to do those things might see them as flaws… but a little surprised all the same… ha a gauntlet been thrown down? Is there still anger within the POB that an American from outside the system was once promoted above them?

The dress rehearsal(?) comments about the young soloist sounded like headphone chatter, probably not intended for everyone (poor thing!)… just before the soloist with the fabulous beats… Was young soloist the same dancer meeting with Le Fevre? I found that whole bit hard to read… Was she being obsequious or was she just displaying a typical French girl’s speech patterns & feminine mannerisms? Couldn’t quite figure it out… Had she just been promoted? Why was she meeting with Lefevre?

Contrary to the review, I didn’t think Lefevre was so manipulative, but rather right… rather very right… she seemed to be most concerned with keeping the quality of the POB up very high, but still going forward, not becoming a museum, while acknowledging that she still needed to work within the bureaucracy of the opera … It was fascinating watching her explaining to the guest choreographer (who was that? I hope the DVD has an ID option!) that he couldn’t just watch some company classes and ask for dancers by name… but he could ask for a type of dancer and she’d give him a few to try out…

Someone felt the rehearsal masters were being mean… I didn’t, I thought they were doing their job and skillfully. It was fascinating to see how they were trying to carve even more out of a beautiful dancer’s interpretation…

Also how many different languages the dancers were being rehearsed in, apparently without translators…

The Lehman Bros visitation refusal seemed simply that one couldn’t feasibly fit 20 business people invisibly or comfortably into a rehearsal studio… (I want to say self-important business people, as there’s no reason to expect these people to make themselves small) but they were willing to let them traipse through a rehearsal space, doesn’t that seem interruption enough?

I’m going to try to take two tweens but we’ll probably be leaving soon after bureaucracy speech starts and before Medea starts killing her children… it’s a long movie for a kid. Speaking of which, will this be likely cut down before it hits DVD? Will it tour the art houses in this length?

Enjoyed Wiseman’s voyeurism… even looking in at what the cafeteria was serving…
Most enjoyed Wiseman voyeurism of the creative process, the choreographers talking to the dancers, the coaches, but especially the bit with Lefevre explaining to the guest choreographer that he couldn’t just watch a class and ask for the dancers he likes… We never did get to see how that resolved!

I didn’t think the subjects were performing for the camera… I expect it became invisible to them as has often been my experince working with dancers. I didn’t think anyone was self conscious, except well, maybe cafeteria cashier was self conscious & costume shop woman seemed pointedly absorbed in her work – but hey, wasn’t that janitor sweeping up at the Garnier graceful?

Enjoyed the modern piece with the feet at the Bastille, the one where the platform raised… What was that? Was it Romeo & Juliet?

I kept waiting for some big grand classical ballet bash… I swear there was stuff in the trailer that wasn’t in the film … Somehow I thought we’d see more of the Nureyev snow scene… Maybe I was lost in thought as it went by.

I loved seeing the Paquita footage up close… it’s always seemed to be a ballet about how much the dancers enjoy doing those steps…(as opposed perhaps to the big choreographic picture), so it was nice to have the closeness the camera allowed us as opposed to the gulf of the orchestra pit.

Interesting at how Le Fevre is trying hard to push the modern… Confounded that the students were not availing themselves of the modern technique classes offered which would help them with just the repertoire they are complaining was difficult for them to take on… I see she took courses from Merce, Taylor, Nikolais. She has choreographed before but doesn’t now?? I couldn’t find a Wikipedia page on her, surprisingly.

What was the strike about?

No one is ever seen dissing the Nureyev repertoire… One watches the cavalier variation for a few moments thinking “what is this ballet?” before realizing in shock that it’s Nutcracker! His work looks so full of steps, so difficult, often too busy, as if he choreographed it to a slower tempo in his imagination... but I rather liked the pas de deux for Clara and the Nutcracker at the end of the battle...

Movie didn’t seem to build to an ending… it just ended. In the middle. at a stopping point. of sorts. like life.

But the whole thing was so beautifully shot… if one couldn’t see the overall choreography, one could still see the dancing in choreographic phrases… the only time it was hard to watch was the song of Medea, and only where Medea has lost it… perhaps he was going for disjuncture, underlining that out of control feeling?

#44 DanceActress

DanceActress

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 79 posts

Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:40 AM

I saw "La Danse" last night at Film Forum, and I loved it! I could have watched another three hours of footage about that glorious company.

I was able to identify almost all of the dancers and choreographers. But I do have two questions for sharp-eyed and informed Ballet Talkers. Who was the dark-haired female dancer with Wilfried Romoli during the Medea section that was filmed onstage and in costume? She wasn't dancing the role of Medea (not Emilie Cozette or Delphine Moussin) and I think she's in the corps rank. Also, what piece was Yann Bridard rehearsing towards the end of the film?

#45 nysusan

nysusan

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:05 AM

FYI for anyone who's planning to see this at the Film Forum - buy tickets in advance! I live nearby and decided to stroll over to catch the 1:30 PM showing. Got there at 1 and IT WAS SOLD OUT! So was the 1 PM showing of The Red Shoes. Good for them, maybe they'll book some more ballet films.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 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):