Ballets Russes

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"Fame, glamour, ego, politics, money, war, love ... and dance."
  • NR
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 58 min
  • 7.9  (695)
  • 81

Ballets Russes is a 2005 documentary film that explores the history and legacy of the iconic Ballets Russes. The film provides a fascinating insight into the world of ballet during the early 20th century, and explores the creative forces behind this legendary company. The Ballets Russes was founded in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev, a Russian impresario with a passion for ballet. Diaghilev believed that ballet should be a total work of art, which meant that every element of a production - music, scenery, lighting, and dance - should be integrated into a seamless whole. Inspired by this principle, the Ballets Russes became famous for its originality, extravagance, and artistic innovation.

The film begins by tracing the origins of the Ballets Russes and its early successes. We meet some of the dancers who helped to create the company's signature style, including Irina Baronova, Yvonne Chouteau, and Kenneth Kynt Bryan. Through interviews with the dancers, as well as archival footage and photographs, we gain a sense of the passion and dedication that drove these young artists.

Ballets Russes then moves on to explore some of the company's most famous productions. We see excerpts from iconic works such as Petrouchka, Les Sylphides, and The Firebird, which revolutionized the world of ballet and made the company's reputation. The film highlights the striking visual and musical qualities of these productions, and provides some context for the revolutionary changes that they represented.

Throughout the film, we are exposed to the stories and personalities that helped to shape the Ballets Russes. We learn about the eccentric and mercurial persona of Diaghilev; the genius of composer Igor Stravinsky, who wrote many of the Ballets Russes' most famous scores; and the artistic struggles and triumphs of the dancers themselves. The film also pays tribute to the many other creative forces behind the Ballets Russes, including costume and set designers, lighting designers, and choreographers.

One of the most interesting aspects of Ballets Russes is the way in which it explores the social and cultural context of the company. We learn about the political upheavals of the era, including the Russian Revolution and World War I, which had a profound impact on the company's success and survival. We also gain insight into the changing attitudes of audiences towards ballet, as well as the shifting tastes and priorities of the company's own artistic directors.

The film culminates in a touching reunion of some of the surviving Ballets Russes dancers, who reflect on their experiences with the company and the enduring legacy of their contributions to the world of dance. Their reminiscences are a poignant reminder of the power of art to transform lives, and the extraordinary impact that the Ballets Russes had on the cultural landscape of the 20th century.

Overall, Ballets Russes is a beautifully crafted and engaging documentary that provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of ballet during one of its most dynamic and transformative periods. The film celebrates the artistry and innovation of the Ballets Russes, and pays tribute to the many creative forces that helped to make it one of the most revered and influential dance companies in history.

Ballets Russes is a 2005 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9 and a MetaScore of 81.

Ballets Russes
Where to Watch Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Ballets Russes for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 58 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (695)
  • Metascore