I saw Ballet 422 last night and liked it very much – it seemed very much its own thing. I would have liked less of the costume designing process, and seeing more of Peck working on some small scale choreographic figures. But I didn't miss seeing the whole filmed ballet – which would have looked flat, or not quite fit with the fragmentary nature of the rest of the film.
The world of City Ballet it portrayed seemed almost monastic – the film was like an ethnographical observation of the social structures of a monastery. Justin Peck, from the lowest rung of the ballet, the corps – as the opening title informs us – is selected to choreograph a ballet, does just that, and then immediately after the premiere sheds his suit and tie, returns to being a corps member and joins the cast of the third ballet on the same bill.
The scene where Cameron Grant takes Peck aside and suggests he take time out to talk to the orchestras is good. And also Albert Evans having to be an advocate for the dancers. Curious that the name of the piece was not mentioned until the end – only that it had been written in 1935 (at first I thought it might be RodeO).
The addition of music of the adagio movement of Symphony in C was technically ok, but perhaps too rich for the images, like a last minute spoonful of Devonshire cream, and ran against the the dry tone of the film. It might have worked with no sound – the short excerpt of the Ratmansky ballet that Peck has rejoined, then the high shots of Lincoln Center fountains, all in silence or the natural sounds of the plaza.