Center Stage Controversy - I object!
Posted 23 June 2002 - 12:08 PM
It was interesting, though, that when the ballet mistress was addressing the other students in the film, she called them by the names of the real-world dancers portraying them: e.g. " Relax your fingers, Janie" to Janie Taylor; " This is a chasse, not a tombe, Pascale" to Pascale van Kipnis, and " Beautiful, Aesha" to Aesha Ash.
Posted 24 June 2002 - 04:59 AM
I prefered "Billy Elliot", not for the dance sequences of course (which were disappointing), but for the story (not just the main plot). The acting here is much better than in "Centre Stage". (Jamie Bell was great, I thought). The ballet scenes aren't realistic though: boys don't wear ribbons, girls don't usually wear tutus to class, and auditions are quite different now. If you watch it with a ballet critic's eye, then it's a failure. However, if you watch it for what it is- a regular movie that just happens to be about ballet, directed and produced by people that aren't experts in ballet- it can be entertaining.
As for the notion that the movies film critics like are usually "not as entertaining". I have to agree and disagree (this is a little off topic). If one's idea of entertainment is non-stop action and special effects, then yes. But critics have to study a lot of film theory (or so I should imagine) and their tastes are more cerebral than the average viewer. They look for good acting (not just good looks) and cinematic technique and probably some originality (what hollywood lacks). After watching blockbusters all the time, it takes a while to train one's eye to appreciate the subtlety of foreign/art/independent film. But I think it's well worth it. Some critics however, can get overly pretentious and give a film 5 stars just because it is abstract and from Europe. Sometimes I agree with critics, but sometimes the films they praise are verrry slow (i.e. Cannes' camera d'or winner "Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner"- I really wanted to like it, since it's Canadian, but boy was it slow! Or another Cannes winner "Rosetta"- cinema verite style takes getting used to).
Posted 24 June 2002 - 05:52 AM
Hmph. And people tease me because I like to count fouttes. At least I pick dancers who are more of a challenge!
I liked a lot of Billy Elliot. It certainly had its flaws, oversimplifications, and mawkish sentimentality. But I can certainly identify with a character who repeatedly falls over while practicing pirouettes!
Posted 24 June 2002 - 08:02 AM
Billy Elliot I could watch over and over. I think it's a wonderful story. It makes me want to be 10 again, when you could have all that potential, that genius to go in any direction you want. And it makes me wonder what on earth I was doing at age 10 - watching tv no doubt!
Posted 06 July 2002 - 08:35 AM
In the trailer Billy is first seen wearing boxing gloves and headgear--the huge, pillow-like gloves that amateur boxers use in training. The narrative of the trailer makes clear that he is drawn away from the manly art of self-defense and toward the gentler pursuit of dance.
Which makes him odd, of course, and which I thought was the central conflict in the movie.
Wouldn't it be nice if the movement was the other way--that ballet training was considered the norm for young men and that a few of them, of inexplicable reasons, wanted to become boxers.
Posted 06 July 2002 - 04:56 PM
On your last point, I know it's not the same but we did have this British tv programme called 'Faking It'. It's a series testing people's ability to completely change their identities. Kasper Cornish a ballet dancer from London had just one month to transform himself into an aggressive wrestler and take on the former NWA World Champion in front of a paying audience and a panel of professional judges. I think he was successful-ish, but wrestling wasn't really for him and he went right back to ballet.
Posted 21 July 2002 - 07:13 PM
Posted 25 July 2002 - 02:48 PM
Posted 25 July 2002 - 06:43 PM
Piccolo, I wholeheartedly agree. We're too hard on the movie or any dance movies for that matter. Sure, it was cheesy. Sure, it was strangely written in alot of places. But, it did bring our art back to the "Joe Sixpack" masses. Dance is a hard thing to portray realistically unless it is in a documentary sort of arena.
So, sometimes whether we really like them or not.....we need to buy the video, go to the theatre, and see them. So that it will give the impression that there is a market for them. Someone will get it right every 10 movies or so and then we'll be glad we did.
Posted 15 August 2002 - 07:43 PM
Normally ballet is seen like boring but this movie shows another face of dance making that with the time you may enjoy ballet as a real lover. About Billy Elliot I must say it was really dissapointing for me .I expected to watch lovely dance sequences and real passion for dance and found a tragic story that made sad . Just an opinion !
Posted 16 August 2002 - 09:25 AM
Posted 21 August 2002 - 03:49 PM
Posted 22 August 2002 - 04:29 PM
And I disagree that a movie about what a dancer's life is really like would be boring. You just have to pick the right dancer.
Posted 22 August 2002 - 05:19 PM
Posted 22 August 2002 - 07:41 PM
I would preface the following paragraph by reminding the young balletomanes who love this film that I am just expressing my humble opinion and do not wish to diminish their enjoyment of CS. But a Forum is a place for opinions, isn't it?
I share LMCtech's low opinion of CS. While certainly not an awful film, it's soap opera stereotypes were solidly aimed at a target audience and the film sacrificed huge chunks of dance reality to sell tickets. I thought the walk-out/suprise replacement was ridiculous, exceeded only by the motorcycle/mattress de deux. One of the biggest problems was it had the wrong Director: Nicholas Hytner is primarily a West End/Broadway Stage Director; had a quirky (and very "stagey") artistic hit with "Madness of King George", then a sitcom-like "Object of My Desire" (also written by a playwright: Wendy Wasserstein) Then Center Stage.
Huh? What in the name of Billy Wilder made them choose this guy to direct? He's a journeyman film director at best and I thought it showed. (Some earnest acting and good dancing were exceptions)
BTW: Watch "Mr Holland's Opus" with musicians and you'll get the same cringing reaction. Especially embarrassing is the clarinet practice scene where he ties to get her over "the break", and she's not even near it, nevermind over it. Reed players will know what I mean. What a mess...even worse than CS, I think.
Anyway, brace yourselves: a real film director, Robert Altman, starts shooting his film The Company with the Joffrey in October.
Don't let me down, Bobby...
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