Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Paris Opera Ballet has long been one of the most respected ballet companies in France, and many of the nation's most gifted dancers vie for the privilege of performing there. This documentary offers an intimate look at the men and women of the Paris Opera Ballet as they prepare and rehearse for performances of Swan Lake and a demanding dance interpretation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; the tight-knit but deeply competitive world of ballet is introduced, where close friends often find themselves battling for the same role, and the lessons learned through time and experience often run counter to the gradual decay of the body's mechanisms through age. Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet was the first theatrical feature from
director Nils Tavernier, the son of noted filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
"Nils Tavernier sought to reveal the effort behind the enchantment in "Étoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet." Filmed over three months in 1999, this documentary mixes extended rehearsal film; backstage action; and interviews with dancers, who discuss stage fright, the harsh competition they endured as youngsters and their devotion to this demanding art. "Love is not the word," one dancer muses. "It's something that devours you." The picture that emerges remains a glamorous one, but tinged with loneliness and hardship. As one teacher bluntly states, the hierarchical system of the world's great ballet institutions is "a machine that crushes the weak."
- Claudia La Rocco, NEW YORK TIMES
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