Documentaries

Violette et Mr B

A documentary about Violette Verdy in which she recounts with great verve her illuminating career alongside George Balanchine.

 

Une étoile pour l’exemple

This film by Dominique Delouche shot at the Opéra de Paris enables us to see the dance classes in which Yvette Chauviré tirelessly transmits her knowledge to the young étoiles of the Opéra de Paris.

 

Le Mystère Babilée

Produced by: Muzzik, Lieurac Productions, Cinémathèque de la Danse, Videogram Paris, CNC and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication.

Jean Babilée, the enfant terrible of dance, is in fact a sage: his tireless curiosity, his intelligent understanding of situations, his instinctive way of entering into communion with beings and things, or of avoiding them, his liberated behaviour, the refinement of his vision as well as the technical virtuosity of his style as performer are all the result of an ethic and remain inseparable from what Heinrich Von Kleist had superbly called ‘the path of the dancer’s soul’. Patrick Bensard

 

Noureev

Interviews with Rudolf Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Merle Park, Maude Lloyd, Sylvie Guillem, David Wall, Roland Petit, Natalia Dudinskaya, Razida Evegrafova, Taisiam Khalturina, Anna Udeltsova and Marina Vivien.

La Belle au Bois dormant, 1977
École du Kirov, film amateur, 1957
Paquita, Les Ballets du Kirov
Le Corsaire, 1958
La Belle au Bois dormant, Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas
Casse-Noisette, 1961
Giselle, 1962
Le Lac des Cygnes, 1966
Marguerite et Armand (La Dame aux Camélias), 1977
Le Lac des Cygnes, 1966
Casse-Noisette, 1968
Apollon (Apollo), 1973
Pierrot Lunaire, 1977
Aureole, 1978
Don Quichotte, 1973
The Muppets, 1978
Cendrillon, 1978

 

Le Sacre du printemps

Choreographed in 1913 by Nijinsky, Le Sacre du printemps is one of the key works, not only of the Ballets Russes, but of the whole dance repertoire. The primitive power of Nijinsky’s choreography and Stravinsky’s score were rejected by the public, and the production was brought to a close after only eight performances. This exceptional document shows Millicent Hodson’s recreation of the Sacre du printemps in 1989. It took the choreographer seven years to gather the accounts of people who took part in Nijinsky’s creation, and to bring together all the written and visual documents that enabled her to mount this recreation, with costumes and stage design recreated by Kenneth Archer. This recreation has been part of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris repertoire since 1991.

 

Le Printemps du Sacre

1993, 1h40, directed by Jacques Malaterre
Since its premiere, this work, a symbol of modernism, has held such a fascination that numerous choreographers have wanted to do ‘their Sacre’. This film is a journey through several Sacres du Printemps – the most important ones. It shows the recreation of the version of 1913 by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer filmed at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with Marie-Claude Pietragalla and four dancers from the Opéra de Paris. It shows rehearsals and extracts from the Sacre du Printemps by Maurice Béjart with Sylvie Guillem, Marc Hwang and Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Pina Bausch, Martha Graham, Mats Ek. And it has interviews with the choreographers and Jacqueline Robinson for the Sacre du printemps by Mary Wigman, as well as interviews with Pierre Boulez (musical analysis) and André Boucourechtliev (on Stravinsky’s personality).

 

Isadora Duncan, Movement From the Soul

Isadora Duncan revolutionised dance through her freedom of expression and her emphasis on spontaneity and being natural, her use of figures from ancient Greece as source of inspiration. She broke free from classical dance by dancing in barefoot, outdoors, often dressed in nothing but a veil. Isadora Duncan, Movement From the Soul is a portrait that combines archives, interviews and recreations of her most famous dances.

 

When the Fire Dances Between the Two Poles

Mary Wigman, pupil then collaborator of the theorist Rudolf von Laban, was chiefly preoccupied with the links between spirituality and movement. This is more a dance of introspection than action. It would often evoke death, anguish or ecstasy. This document is a long interview with Mary Wigman, creator of Expressionist dance, enriched with archive films shot between 1923 and 1942 and rehearsals with pupils. It also features extracts from her best-known solos:  La Witch Dance, Seraphic Song, Pastoral, Summer Dance and Goodbye and Thank You.

 

A Dancer’s World

At a time when she was preparing to perform the role of Jocasta, Martha Graham introduces us to her company, talks about her life, about art and the life of the dancer. 

 

Kaléidoscope, Valeska Gert

The turbulent artist from Berlin who caused a scandal wherever she went (earning her the admiration of the Surrealists), Valeska Gert, after being neglected for decades, is today seen as one of the key dancers of the first half of the 20th century, who sketched out bourgeois people, prostitutes and outsiders in provocative dances. Filmmakers were quick to see her unique talent: from Pabst to Siodmak, and from Renoir to Fellini, she displayed her silhouette alongside Louise Brooks and Greta Garbo, in such masterpieces as La Rue sans joie and Le Journal d’une fille perdue. Fascinated by Valeska Gert, whom he met on the set of his film Der Fangschuβ, Volker Schlöndorff decided to make a film about her, a few months before her death. It’s a precious document about this radical, demanding, dark, rebellious figure.

 

Karma One An Essay on Carolyn Carlson

This rare document, recently rediscovered and saved by Alain Mayor with the aid of the Cinémathèque de la Danse and in collaboration with L’Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson, shows the performer and choreographer during the seventies period, at work, both rehearsing and performing in public, and offering her thoughts on dance in light touches.

 

Un jour Pina a demandé

For five weeks, Chantal Ackerman followed Pina Bausch and her dancers from the Wuppertal Dance Theater to Milan and Avignon. Through extracts from performances, rehearsals and preparation sessions, the director sought to evoke in images the German choreographer’s artistic and imaginary universe.

 

Lucinda Childs

The film presents rare, unseen documents about this American dancer and choreographer, extending from the 1960s to the present day, and traces her artistic career.

 

Lucinda Childs Postscriptum

Documentary on the revival of Lucinda Child’s legendary Dance by the Ballet de l’Opéra National du Rhin, a work synonymous with minimalism and New York in 1970s.

 

Cage / Cunningham

The history of the relationship between Cage and Cunningham is inseparable from the history of half a century of music and dance. This film offers extremely rare archive documents, as well as interviews with artists who were in Cunningham’s orbit.

 

Anna Halprin, Out of Boundaries

Portrait of the founder of post-modern dance, Anna Halprin. A contemporary and friend of Merce Cunningham, she moved to California in 1945. She trained Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown and Meredith Monk, and also worked with Bob Morris, La Monet Young and Terry Riley.

 

My Lunch with Anna

Since 1995, when Alain Buffard met and collaborated for the first time with Anna Halprin, the French choreographer constantly returned to this key figure of modern American dance. Neither dance film nor simple interview, My Lunch with Anna is a portrait and a performed dialogue in which gesture is combined with words. In the course of five lunches filmed in San Francisco, Alain Buffard questions Anna Halprin about her work process, her experiments with movement and everyday gestures – the famous notion of the task-oriented that she introduced for the first time in the late 1960s. A dialogue between two dance artists from two different generations, in which the exercise of the interview gives way to talk that reveals unfolds modestly to reveal two beings profoundly attached to live.

 

In the mirror of Maya Deren

This documentary traces the surprising biography of the legendary artist Maya Daren. Born in Kiev in 1917, she was one of the key figures in the American post-war avant-garde.

 

Le Décentrement nikolaïen

Teaching tool developed by Dominique Rebaud, consisting of a film of interviews and an 85-page booklet.
‘This film is aimed at all those who transmit and continue to develop dance teaching. It also offers dancers and choreographers an in-depth exploration of this fundamental concept of modernity. More widely, it might also be of interest to historians thanks to the presence of dancers, choreographers and exceptional teachers who offer, above and beyond the subject, rare and precious observations. The philosophical scope of the question of decentring opens up this research to a broader audience, who will find reflections that extend beyond dance.’ Dominique Rebaud

 

Twist

Ron Mann tells the real story of the twist, invented by Hank Ballard and taken up by Chubby Checker, which became the rallying dance for a whole generation in the United States and France. This extraordinary documentary shows the turmoil of a whole period, mixing interviews and archive images at a frantic pace. Twist revisits the history and popularity of this dance.