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Break Up the Dance (1957)

Rozbijemy zabawe (original title)
Youths get ready for a party, decorating the dance floor, cleaning out the fountain of a pond. That evening, the party starts and guests arrive: everyone has a ticket, and a guy at the gate... See full summary »

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Storyline

Youths get ready for a party, decorating the dance floor, cleaning out the fountain of a pond. That evening, the party starts and guests arrive: everyone has a ticket, and a guy at the gate, wearing a formal shirt, tails, and shorts, makes sure only those with tickets gain entrance. Some are in costume, some dressed informally, some in fancy clothes: everyone is there to have a good time. A group of tough-looking guys watch through the high fence while the band plays jazzy rock and couples dance or kiss. With the party in full swing, as the band plays "When the Saints Go Marching In," over the wall comes the gang. Is there any chance they'll join in the festivities? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Short | Drama

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1957 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Break Up the Dance  »

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Trivia

According to Roman Polanski's autobiography, the film was a stunt which nearly got him thrown out of Lodz film school; Polanski had organized a group of real thugs to break up the school dance and as a result some students were actually beaten up. See more »

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"You can't get in without an invite"
14 September 2007 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

This is Polanski's earliest short to tell a complete story, and also his first to use sound. In style it doesn't look particularly Polanski-like if you are used to his later work. It seems to mostly be an exercise in editing and the use of inserts – I don't think a single shot lasts more than a few seconds, a far cry from the long takes I would associate with his features.

Polanski is also taking the opportunity here to experiment with music and sound design, implementing the jazz that is integral to his early work. This is Let's Break the Ball's greatest strength – it has a rhythm to it, something which it is essential for all novice filmmakers to get to grips with. Polanski appears to have grasped it right from the word go.

Story-wise, the theme of a gang of yobs crashing a rather tame, studenty social event is typical of the young, rebellious Polanski, and it's likely there is some sort of upstart message to the authorities intended here. Apparently the partygoers were not forewarned and the attack was genuine – arranged by Polanski as a kind of realist stunt. There are so many varied camera angles and close-ups though that I think many of the little set pieces and inserts – like the women's skirts being ripped – must have been staged.

This is fairly entertaining for a student short. A nice little touch are the bookends which show – in utter contrast to the bulk of the film – the set up and aftermath of the party respectively. Let's Break the Ball is Polanski's first proper opportunity to try out a few techniques, and also his dynamic announcement of his arrival.


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