1 h 50 min | Love&Anarchy | Release Date: 16.9.2016
Audiences could be forgiven for thinking that Frederick Wiseman’s exhaustive La Danse was the only documentary they would ever need to watch about the Paris Opera Ballet. But then the charismatic, iconoclastic dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied (known for his work on Black Swan and for marrying Natalie Portman) took over as the dance director of the august institution and a new chapter commenced.
We meet Millepied thirty-nine days before the premiere of his first original work for the company. With his jogging pants and ready laugh, he’s depicted as a maverick spirit in a deeply conservative world.
The film explores the Paris Opera Ballet as a physical institution as well as a cultural one. Chapters in the film are broken up with rapid edits of scenes from various parts of the theatre – the effect is like someone impatiently flicking through the pages of glossy book. The film’s main asset is undoubtedly its central character. He is a technically brilliant dancer, but rejects the sternly authoritarian approach favoured by his contemporaries. His mission to shatter the institutional racism of the old guard is admirable.
WENDY IDE, SCREEN
Language: French / Subtitles: English