Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

"Claude Bessy, Lignes d'Une Vie”-(Traces of a Life),

Recommended Posts

I'm going to go see this tomorrow. Will report back. :thumbsup:

From the Cinematheque website...


"Described as the “Golden Silhouette” by Serge Lifar, French ballerina Claude Bessy was an admired etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet and ran its prestigious school for decades. Americans know her as Gene Kelly’s partner in his “Invitation to the Dance.” Herrault’s intimate documentary, narrated by his subject, features rare vintage classroom and performance footage of the dancer in her prime, including works by Kelly, Serge Lifar, and Maurice Bejart. (In French and English with English subtitles)"


Youskevitch and Bessy in "Invitation to the Dance" :wub:


Link to comment

The documentary is very delightful, with Bessy herself conducting it..(not other narrating "voices off" to be heard). There are several segments of her dancing...(the Youskevitch sequence from "Invitation to the dance", "Daphnis&Chloe" with Erik Bruhn-(what a gorgeous couple they made onstage...they looked like two vikings..! :wub: )-and that of her and Gene Kelly in the "Coffee House Ballet". Lots of praising for Lifar and Bejart-(specially for Lifar)-but not ONE word mentioning her senior peer-(rival?)-Chauvire or Nureyev. I wonder if there were issues about it back in the days. Very nice insight on the POB school by the time she directed it.

Link to comment

To put the documentary in a little bit of context - one of the factors that drove its creation was the discovery of the archival footage by the filmmaker, who one of her former students. The footage was literally in the bottom of her closet. When filmmakers/television broadcasters would film the POB during that time, she would ask for the outtakes, and those outtakes are the foundation of the documentary.

Two other noteworthy elements of the doc that bear repeating.

1.) All of the outtakes were film only - the audio was laid down separately by the filmmaker, as only a dancer can do.

2.) There is one piece of film used in the documentary which is a treasure among treasures (although I think it was mentioned elsewhere in a discussion about the film): the Lumiere Brothers film of El Cid. Very few film historians even realized that piece of film existed, and you can't even find information about it on google.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...