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Aro Favourite La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet


France / USA 2009, 152 minutes
Dir. Frederick Wiseman
In English, French with English subtitles
Rating: [PG]
Genres: Documentary / Dance


Aroview: A captivating meditation on the arts from prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman, whose decades observing the inner workings of American institutions has brought him to this rare foreign subject matter: the world class Paris Opera ballet, and the performers, choreographers, and administrators behind the prestigious dance company.

As with all of Wiseman’s documentaries, this takes on the sparest of forms; the camera simply observing its subjects in situ, and without the embellishment of narration or exposition. Thus, the art and institution of ballet is presented in its purest, if not most fragile form, in which the existence and relevance of classical dance is brought into sharp relief while also being treated with the utmost appreciation and respect. Though this in itself is not nearly as hard-hitting as some of Wiseman’s more famous examinations, we’re certain viewers will feel both enchanted and stimulated by this latest work, whether ballet fans or not.

NB: Wiseman’s extensive back catalogue of documentaries is currently not available to libraries such as AroVideo, due to exclusive distribution in the USA.

NZ International Film Festival 2010

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DVD Features

  • trailers
  • aspect ratio: 16:9

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