Dan Geller, Dayna Goldfine, 2005
Nonfiction filmmaking holds a strong appeal for many committed directors and producers. This ongoing series lets you sample wide-ranging approaches to the contemporary documentary.
Among the most compelling dance documentaries of recent years, Ballets Russes presents touching interviews and rare performance footage. The result is more than an abundance of archival treasures. It is an eloquent statement on the art of aging gracefully.
"Brings to life an era of unequaled artistic excitement."--Washington Post
The film starts with the 1929 death of dance impresario Sergei Diaghilev and the subsequent splintering of his troupe into two rival companies, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Original Ballet Russe. Over the next decades, these troupes traveled the world, in war and in peace, bringing the high culture symbolized by ballet to devoted audiences while working with the era's leading composers and designers. The film's heart comes in the interviews with the surviving dancers, many of them now teachers looking back in astonishment at who they've been and what they've accomplished. As Artforum commented, "that process of transformation is intensely affecting and gives this film enormous depth." (118 mins.)