Two wonderful films this year about rehearsal-if you love art you will get it
The director of this film, Frederick Wiseman, has the unusual idea that he can set up a camera and a film will happen. The crazy thing is, it seems to work. With no narrative, no drama, and a whole lot of detail, Wiseman takes you through all the nooks and crannies of the Paris Opera ballet, and it is a fun if somewhat long visit. One scene is typical: the artistic director of the ballet is meeting with a very young dancer. She is terribly young, beautiful and speaks French with a very odd accent. Nothing much is said in this meeting, it seems almost completely superfluous; but that is exactly what gives it such charm and interest. You feel like a voyeur to something special and unique. I got the same feelings from watching the Michael Jackson movie, This is It. Now Mr. Jackson's art and the Paris ballet are on two different planets, but the fact that two very moving films about rehearsal have just come out, tell us something about the critical essence of all art. The great artists get to where they are by spending a lifetime practicing. And watching them practice, whether it is in the ballet or on the pop stage, is to see the way it all comes together. Now it would have been great to fly to London or Paris and see these performances in person. But the magic of film is that is brings you there. And in a way, these movies show you something almost all the fat cats miss-real art just does not happen, it is lived.
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