October 26, 2005
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Directors: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriters: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
Starring: Irina Baronova, Yvonne Chouteau, Frederic Franklin, Nathalie Krassovska, Alicia Markova, Marc E. Platt, Tatiana Riabouchinska, Mia Slavenska, Maria Tallchief, George Zoritch
Official website: BalletsRussesmovie.com
Fame, glamour, ego, politics, money, war, love...and dance. A rich documentary tapestry woven from a treasure trove of archival gems and new verité footage, filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have nimbly fashioned an entrancing ode to the revolutionary twentieth-century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes. The film intricately traces the company's beginnings with impresario Serge Diaghilev in turn-of-the-century Paris--when artists such as Nijinksky, Balanchine, Picasso, Miró, Matisse and Stravinsky united in an unparalleled collaboration--to its halcyon days in the 1930s and '40s when the Ballets Russes toured America, astonishing audiences with never-before-seen artistry. They ultimately closed up shop in the early '60s amid skyrocketing egos and financial woes--but the strength of its legacy and lasting cultural impact live on. Rare performance footage, Hollywood film excerpts, home movies, letters and diaries are intercut with intimate anecdotal interviews with more than twenty surviving and still-glamorous Ballets Russes stars (now in their seventies and eighties) that bring to life the extraordinary and often-tumultuous journey of the company and individuals who danced in it. "Ballets Russes" treats modern audiences--both balletomanes and non-dance fans alike--to a rare glimpse of the singularly remarkable merger of performers, choreographers, composers and designers who transformed the art of dance for generations to come.