Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2005. Geller/Goldfine Productions. Screenplay by Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine, Celeste Schaefer Snyder, Gary Weimberg. Cinematography by Daniel Geller. Produced by Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine, Robert Hawk, Douglas Blair Turnbaugh. Music by Todd Boekelheide, David Conte. Production Design by Heather Shirkey. Film Editing by Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine, Gary Weimberg. National Board of Review Awards 2005. National Society of Film Critics Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
Exquisite documentary that charts the experiences of the company that provided the twentieth century with some of its greatest achievements in ballet. Following the dissolution of Dighelev’s Ballet Russe in Paris in the 1930s, two rival companies eventually spring up featuring dancers from all over Europe and Russia. Political situations being what they are over the next few decades, the companies come to America and blow away stateside audiences, who thrill to the talents of both companies. Thankfully, the majority of members in these companies (including future Batgirl Yvonne Craig) are still with us when filmmakers Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine get around to making this film (many of them we have lost since), and they provide rich footage chock full of comedy, intrigue and more than a little bit of heartbreaking nostalgia. Then there is the more than ample stock footage, as both companies were successful enough to make sure to have much of their performance work filmed over the decades. It’s a marvelous tribute to a highly important art form that is perfectly suited to the cinema, and will linger in your heart for days afterwards.