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May 11, 2003 in Other Performing & Fine Arts: Performances, Exhibits, Films, and Events
Yep, sure was.
Funny Face, you quizzed us about "another work never performed that has a tennis theme" -- were you referring to Nijinska's "Le Train Bleu"?The Oakland Ballet did a stylish job of reiving that ballet, which is set on hte Cote d'azur and everybody wears bathing suits by Chanel and there's a wonderful part for a tall ballerina with a tennis racket (based on Babe what's her-name, the celebrity American tennis star). Susan Taylor was marvellous in that role here.
The whole thing is kind of a cartoon -- the ballerina is a silly little thing, rather like Betty Boop, and her boyfriend (played in the original by Anton Dolin) wears his hair like patent leather and does a lot of amusing muscle-beach acrobatics.
It had a lot of malarkey to it.
Maybe you're thinking of the Robbins/Stravinsky "Dumbarton Oaks," from the mid-'70s, Funny Face?
Back to "The Company," we got a press release from Sony today with some useful links:
To view the trailer for this film or to visit the website click on the links below.
This is a limited release feature that opens in NY and LA 12.25.03 if you are interested in getting dates and times for your individual city, let me know and I'll see what I can find out. Please pass this email along to anyone who you know that loves ballet, and help support this wonderful film.
Alexandra: Any hopes that this will play in the SF Bay Area anytime soon?
I haven't received anything more specific than this -- Glebb might know, if he's around.
It opens in LA and NY on Christmas Day and then is released in "other cities" "later."
If you check the reviews on rottentomatoes (which I think is www.rottentomatoes.com ) there's mention of the dancing in it. It sounds like there's a LOT of dance.
I only know of NY/LA/Chicago for Christmas day openings. I will post any further information the minute I receive it.
There is a lot of dancing in "The Company" and it is filmed beautifully, but don't expect to see Joffrey full lengths such as "Romeo and Juliet", "Taming of the Shrew" and "La Fille Mal Gardee", or even "The Nutcracker." Though the film looks high budget, it is not. Mr. Altman did not want "The Company" to be anything like "The Turning Point" or "Center Stage." As with all Altman films the artistry is not obvious.
Thank you Alexandra for posting the links to rottentomatoes. I recommend reading the reviews before viewing The Company."
Christmas Day is usually pretty stolid around here. I'm beginning to think of making a Christmas Day Pilgrimage to NYC to see the opening there, if it's possible.
Having seen the press screening of The Company last night, I must say that although I'm a big fan of Altman's, this was not the ballet-world Nashville for which I'd hoped. There's only the briefest glimpse of anything remotely classical (a variation from the Pas de Six from La Vivandiere, in which a veteran ballerina [Deborah Dawn?] sustains a severe injury). The rest is modernistic stuff of various ilks, starting with a bit of Nikolais, a lot of Arpino, a Lubavitch duet, and finishing with that Desrosiers thing which is awful beyond description.
The dances are shot from odd angles, usually in close. There's little sense of the choreography, which, in these cases, is pretty much a blessing. The angles distort the dancers physiques, and the bit from Arpino's Light Rain has a crotch shot so blinding you may want to bring sunglasses. There are lots of crotch and butt shots, actually. What is Altman trying to tell us?
Altman tells the various stories with his familiar deft and understated touch. Malcolm McDowell is beyond over the top as Mr. A, the Joffrey's fictional artistic director, but at least he seems to be enjoying himself.
About the only people who don't look like fools are the dancers.
I was afraid Altman was not a director for dance. I'll reserve judgment till I see it, though....
I suspect it will open in the DC area over MLK weekend (Jan 16-19) because I received a pass to a "preview" screening on Jan 13th.
"The Company" was terrific, but then I'll watch anything with a ballerina. A question: What was that allegro in which that dancer snapped her achilles? Gorgeous.
Has no one seen this? There is a surprising lack of posts.
Glad you enjoyed THE COMPANY CarmelCapehart2! I liked it too!
The variation in question is the Fanny Cerrito solo - Pas de Six from "La Vivandiere".
Hi, Carmel Capehart! I think the film isn't in general release yet -- either that, or everyone is still recovering from Nutcracker!!!
Saw it last night and enjoyed it. Toni Bentley had a fairly critical commentary in yesterday's LA Times. I am curious about The Blue Snake though.
From an email sent to me by one of the movie's producers:
THE COMPANY will open in Boston, Miami, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and Philadelphia starting 1/16/04.
More cities will have openings at a later time.
Here's Entertainment Weekly's take on it:
I can't access the ew site above. However, I got Roger Ebert's comments last night on TV. He listed The Company on the most "overlooked" films and gave it a thumbs up. He gave positive comments on Neve's performance ( incidentally, I luved Party of 5).
He suggested that Altman took an arrogant approach to the film in that he didn't bother to give it much of a plot-Leading ebert to believe that Altman is enthralled with the world of dance so much that he didn't think the movie needed a plot. I think his bottom line was it could have been great if it had both.
I agree with pretty much everything Manhattnik says about the dancing above. The opening credits announce "The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Gerald Arpino, Artistic Director" – a little unusual, normally you'd just see "The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago" listed with the actors - and it's pretty much All Arpino, All the Time, except for a reference here and there to "Bob." It would have been a nice gesture to include some of "Bob's" choreography, I'd have thought.
As for the nondancing bits -- and that's all they are, bits -- Altman deploys his customary techniques to not much purpose. Situations are presented but not resolved, allegedly in imitation of "real life" but Frederick Wiseman's documentary about ABT somehow managed to make real life a lot more interesting than this. The movie isn't awful, you can sit through it and enjoy isolated parts.
I enjoyed The Company. It is plotless as has already been discussed. Warn your non-dancing friends before taking them to see it; I didn't warn my friend and perhaps she would have enjoyed it more if I had prepared her. To us dancers, anything with dancing is very enjoyable, but for those who don't dance, this movie may seem long and drawn out.
I was impressed with Neve in the dance in which she is wearing a grey dress; her early dance training is evident.
oh my good heaves, "Dr T" is trash. The ending is so stupid that you only can laugh. On my Top Ten Worst movies of alltime and I also despise "Mccabe and Mrs. Miller" I will see "Company," but I'm apprehensive. Off to "Swan " with my wife.
I realize that simply typing
would not be so much of a substantial post. So I will qualify by saying that I quite enjoyed the meander and pace and lack of ultimate resolve in "Gosford Park" and pretty much wanted to scream during "The Company".
I enjoyed The Company. Essentially it was a year in the life of a company and it was quite interesting to see something about the dancers, the backstage activities, and the rehearsals transitioning into the performances.
Some reviewers criticized it for lacking a plot. But would they rather have seen yet another story about a novice dancer making it big, or a romantic comedy, or a murder mystery? Its like condemning a Ferrari because it isn't a SUV.
One peculiar aspect of the film for me is that I've seen numerous performances of the Joffrey, and recognized, or partially recognized, many of the dancers and some of the locations. Meanwhile the lead actress was unknown.
Wasn't that disconcerting? A newbie replacing Maia Wilkins?