France / USA, 2009 (MIFF 2010, Documentaries)
Director: Frederick Wiseman
“Yes, this is one of the finest dance films ever made, but there's more to it than that.” - New York Times
Setting his gaze on Paris's Palais Garnier, prolific documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (Primate, showing in this year's Wild Things program) opens up the inner workings of an institution of a different kind: a working ballet company. Through rehearsals, meetings and performance, La Danse chronicles the day-to-day regimen of the Paris Opera Ballet - an engrossing collection of 16mm footage that amounts to a feast of the senses for any dance lover.
With La Danse, his 36th documentary in just over 40 years, Frederick Wiseman again takes a voyeuristic fly-on-the-wall approach to his subjects, removing himself completely from the picture and letting the unnamed experts flourish on screen.
“Even people who are not aficionados will be mesmerized by these beautifully framed sequences. Dance lovers will be in hog heaven.” - Hollywood Reporter