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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

D Frederick Wiseman P Françoise Gazio, Pierre Olivier Bardet, Frederick Wiseman Dist Madman Entertainment L French w/English subtitles TD 35mm/2009

See also...


USA, 1983
Frederick Wiseman's latest work in an extraordinary succession of fifteen documentaries on the American way of life turns its pitiless glare away from institutional "casualties peace" to concentrate … More »

First Footage

France, 1984
As a result of assiduous research, Levy has uncovered footage from the first films of the masters of documentary: (oris Ivens Olga Alexandrova Vertova, lean Rouch Frederick Wiseman and Nagisa Oshima … More »


USA, 1975
Welfare is the ninth in a series of documentary films about American institutions by Frederick Wiseman. His films since 1967 include studies of the law, the medical profession, schools, the military … More »


USA, 1976
Frederick Wiseman's documentary, Welfare, was screened at last year's Melbourne Film Festival, Meat is his ninth film, a study of one of America's largest meat processing works It is located in Greel… More »


USA, 1995
... ... Veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his rigorous gaze on the cultural institution of classical dance in Ballet, an epic account of days and nights with the premier US nation… More »

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