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Ballets Russes - the Film

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It left me more than misty-eyed....I cried through a good bit of it...the bodies change, the spark remains.....

I plan to see it again and buy the DVD. All praise to the filmmakers for preserving the memories. I was too young to have seen these performances but recall thinking as I pored over old programs and souvenir books how very tough this life must have been and how dedicated to the art the dancers were. Even today touring is so hard, the life so unsettled....it was an inspiring film for me.

Really, I cannot recommend it too highly.

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This is one of the finest ballet documentaries in a long time. What wonderful 'characters' among the dancers interviewed! So many have passed away in the short time since the New Orleans reunion -- and these interviews -- took place.

The film clips include many treasures, although it was a bit frustrating to not have the correct music accompanying the silent ballet clips. It would have been fairly easy for a pianist to have played a synchronized accompaniment to the excerpts that are easily recognizable.

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Although our family was not able to go see the film, we WILL get the DVD when it is available.

Our school was extremely privileged to have George (Yuri) Zorich (I'm not sure I spelled that right) teach a master class last week, a few days after the opening of the film in our area. He is 88 years old and an amazing man.

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Isn't EVERYONE seeing this film? Go, go, go! It's as wonderful as everyone says it is. (I had the same quibble as Natalia about the music/matching; everything seems to be danced to "Coppelia".)

It's been held over in Washington, and the showing I attended was nearly sold out.

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Wonderful film. So good to finally see Krassovska in action. I've heard stories for years about her flirtatious nature. Freddie is just as adorable and sharp as ever (got a special kick out of his Russians being bad to each other line) and thank you George Zoritch for wearing a Joffrey t-shirt. Was impressed by how many of those ballets Joffrey has done and still does. Tatiana Riabouchinska Lichine was just stunningly glam and how beautiful was Maria Tallchief? Final thank you to Ann Barzel, the Chicago dance critic who sneaked her camera into the theatre and captured so many rare clips (deMille in Rodeo, Cotillion and many more) of ballets.

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Just got home from seeing it. When a film opens in only one theatre in this town (the Renaissance Place showing listed above has not eventuated), large as it is, you go before it vanishes again. And I recommend everyone else do likewise.

Not that I'm that big on history. History, shmistory, I say! Go for the entertainment! They were entertaining when they were young and they still are, too, each in their own way (good examples above, I don't need to add).

You're interested in history? Fine, then you have two reasons to see it! And the DVD will make it possible to re-see favorite parts, or the part where the person who came in half an hour late was standing in front of me. (Danilova was dancing. How could he?)

Agreed, the right music wouldn't have been so hard to add in many places, I think, never having done it, though. Glazunov subbed for Tchaikovsky, too, etc. Maybe even orchestral music, as I understand it's not so hard today to change the tempo some without changing the pitch at all.

And I could quibble about so much frenetic jumping and turning; I suppose the available clips - and I think that's all there is, not films of whole ballets, at least, when Ms. Barzell gave showings many years ago here, fragments were all she seemed to have - distort somewhat the Ballets Russes repertory. But for me that made the other fragments all the more enjoyable: Several of Cotillon, including the ending, at the end of the film, appropriately, and of Les Sylphides, and others. And the warmth of spirit of the dancers now was very taking. I felt I'd spent the evening in wonderfully charming company.

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I just saw it for the second time, and it more than holds up. It is such a glorious film. I had less patience for people laughing at the make-up or outfits that the dancers wore in the contemporary sections.....you try putting on lipstick when you're 90!!

Waiting to go in, on the line (it was totally sold out before the showing -- I bought tickets online this time), I heard more than one person say they had danced with one or more of the Ballets Russes companies, which was great. I suppose if all the former B.R. corps de ballets members come, they'll have sold out houses for a long time!

I am hoping that the DVD will have more interviews, more back-stories, more, more, more!!

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A National Public Radio piece about this film, with bits of interviews, can be found here.

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It's still listed as playing at the Harvard Exit in Seattle through next week :thanks:

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I saw the movie last night, and I still have chills thinking about it. In another life I'd choose to look like Tallchief or Baranova do now -- at any age.

Watching Slavenska in those short clips made me think I was watching Farrell. They, apart from Toumanova, may not have been able to do ninety-nine fouettes, but they could speak with their bodies, and the energy was palpable in the excerpts. And the men were so buttery soft when they jumped.

My favorite story was Terekhov's, how he pooh-poohed his father's warning about how hard ballet was. It was really sad that Chouteau felt she didn't have the "Balanchine look," because she moved like a dream. And Wilkinson's story was another episode of the national shame and waste of racism.

Must have DVD. Must have DVD.

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With the world's first face-transplant having been announced, it may just be a possibility in this lifetime. :P

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Today (Dec 2) The Leonard Lopate show, which plays locally in New York on WNYC(93.9 FM and 820 AM at noon), will have the film makers and Freddie Franklin on to talk about the film. I think the interviews are posted later on the Internet as well.

Here is the web site:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate

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Mark D., thanks for letting us know. Those outside the NYC area can listen live on the web, and I think that things are available in archives later.

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Thank you, Ann Barzel!!! ABout half-way through the movie I realized that hakf the clips we'd seen so far had to be some of hers --

THe clips from Sylphides were a revelation.

I was very impressed with the men of old -- Alan Howard, my LORD!!! the lift in the waist through all those jumps is SO BEAUTIFUL. No wonder he could do triple turns. In the 70s in San Francisco, his Pacific Ballet was many thought a more important company than San Francisco Ballet - now I've got an idea why.

ANd Zoritch, wow.

Are his Hollywood movies available on DVD? Anybody know?

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Will this film also come out on DVD anytime, do you think?

I don't know if it will hit central Europe.... and if it does, probably not anywhere near me. :-(

(grumble...)

-d-

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As ViolinConcerto pointed out elsewhere :wink: , the website announces a 2006 release. You can sign up for an e-mail notification. :dry:

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Will this film also come out on DVD anytime, do you think?

I don't know if it will hit central Europe.... and if it does, probably not anywhere near me. :-(

(grumble...)

-d-

Diane, you'll be able to order it from Amazon. I've ordered DVDs from amazon.uk and the French Amazon site and gotten them in a week. I've also learned (thanks to a post Helene made a few months ago) that most computers can play a DVD in any format, so cross-platforms may not be a problem.

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I've also learned (thanks to a post Helene made a few months ago) that most computers can play a DVD in any format, so cross-platforms may not be a problem
Only if the DVD is not region-coded or if you own a region-free dvd player! Otherwise you need to switch the preset code of your dvd-player and you can only switch between codes up to 5 times.

About half the dvds on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.fr are coded region-2 and most people don't own region-free players. So check the region before ordering. It should say something like "region 0", "zone 0" or "uncoded".

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I said COMPUTERS not DVD players :wink: If you have a computer with a DVD player, which almost any computer sold today will have, its DVD player will take multiple regions. I've done it on four, three Windows and one Mac.

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I said COMPUTERS not DVD players :dry:  If you have a computer with a DVD player, which almost any computer sold today will have, its DVD player will take multiple regions.  I've done it on four, three Windows and one Mac.

That's actually not true. Most computer DVD drives manufactured in this century are RPC-2 and have region locks. As I mentioned earlier such a dvd drive can usually be switched up to 5 times.

Here are 2 short wikipedia articles on DVDs & Regional Lockout. And a quote to prove the point:

DVD drives for computers usually come with one of two kinds of Regional Playback Control (RPC), either RPC-1 or RPC-2; This is used to enforce the publisher's restrictions on what regions of the world the DVD can be played.

You can use firmware patches to bypass the region locks but that's really off topic.

Where the computer does help is in resolving the NTSC/PAL issue as the PAL (or NTSC) signal is converted to a signal appropriate for your VGA.

Sorry for being so :wink:

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Donning Moderator's beanie.

Just a tap on the collective shoulder to remind posters that this thread :deal: is a discussion of the film.

There must be dozens of sites that can clarify the do's and don'ts of trans-regional dvd-playing.

:wink:

Doffing beanie.

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Freddie Franklin is making something of a career supporting "Ballets Russes." Friday in Toronto he gave a delightful interview:

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...d=1134082211735

He tells the Toronto Star of his debut, at age 17, with Josephine Baker. A quote:

"...and Josephine walked down the stairs — this great lady — and she was nude. I couldn't believe it. I went upstairs and they showed me the next number. I learned how to do the numbers in the dressing room during the show."

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Amazon is now showing the Ballets Russes DVD as "coming soon" and one can sign up for email notification.

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I saw this wonderful film recently at the Albany 2 in Albany, Calif. I have to say RUN don't walk to a theater near you to see this film. A remarkable achievement for Dayna and Dan and everyone involved in its making.

I was lucky enough to be at a screening that Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller hosted a post film Q & A chat. They are delightful couple and shared many interesting and funny ancedotes about the making of Ballet Russe.

The did mention that the DVD (with extras) will be released in late 2006.

They also remarked that they are almost completely dependent on word of mouth to keep this film running in theaters.

Best!

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