Tuesday, 3 August 2010


(Frederic Wiseman; USA/ France; 2009)

Another superb offering from Wiseman. With each subject he chooses he seems to be able to reach into the core of it and allows the spectator to meditate on any meanings that may drift into view. He presents the Paris Opera Ballet, as a labyrinthine affair, often taking us up from catacombs and sewers below the building, moving us up level by level with Ozu-like shots of empty hallways and stairwells, until we reach a rehearsal room with instructors endlessly getting dancers to rehearse and repeat. There is no sense of build-up with these rehearsals, no movement from beginnings of rehearsal to opening night – dancing is presented as one ongoing mass of training, rehearsal, performance. Wiseman focuses also on the administration, costume design, lighting design, and even building maintenance, to present a huge interconnected picture of this institution. It often feels that this place almost floats unconnected to the city it belongs to, and is filled with an infinite amount of rooms. Effortless and captivating.

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