La danse: Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris

Frederick Wiseman’s latest doc was designed with the precision of an arabesque and contains a lesson on just how much precision an arabesque actually requires. Its crafting is clean, graceful and effortless-looking. But La danse: Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris is the work of a master approaching the end of a long career—no errors, no indulgence, and not the kind of film that could be made without a high level of expertise. I make glib comparisons between Wiseman’s film and its subject matter because the director himself makes those comparisons, or rather designs his project in such a way that we can’t help making them as we watch La danse play out. His documentary is, if not a celebration of professional excellence, a study of that excellence at close range and from every angle. Allowed into the boardrooms and rehearsal studios of one of the greatest ballet corps in the world, Wiseman uses his footage to suggest, with the faintest of strokes, that film and dance are equally the products of timing, position, and point of view.

Full review and comments below the fold.

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