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81

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: Unearthing a treasure trove of archival footage, filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have fashioned a dazzlingly entrancing ode to the revolutionary twentieth-century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes. What began as a group of Russian refugees who never danced in Russia became not one but two rival dance troupes who fought the infamous "ballet battles" that consumed London society before World War II. [Zeitgeist Films] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    100
    May not be the greatest dance documentary ever made, but it could well be the most accessible and touching.
  2. Reviewed by: R. M. Campbell
    100
    It captures the heart and spirit of one of the 20th century's most fabled ballet companies, with a history that stretches continents and decades.
  3. A captivating film that truly elevates the spirit, Ballets Russes is the most emotionally satisfying documentary since "Mad Hot Ballroom."
  4. 80
    It's a profoundly optimistic and delightful movie, for balletomanes and neophytes alike. It made me happy for days afterward.
  5. 75
    The documentary traces the fiery history of Ballets Russes -- which for a time consisted of two warring companies.
  6. 75
    You don't have to know an arabesque from an alligator handbag to enjoy Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine's loving documentary about the various incarnations of the Ballet Russe.
  7. Reviewed by: Bob Westal
    50
    This very conventional PBS style videodoc should not be viewed before operating heavy machinery. However, there's plenty to fascinate devotees of the dance.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. NancyS.
    Jun 11, 2006
    10
    brilliant, divine characters- honest, raw, poignant- ageing bodies,the mask of ageing- inside young vital passionate. Inspiring- this is how life should be lived- engaged, alive. The film carefully constructed and very emotional- pulling out all the stops. Expand
  2. DuaneT.
    Feb 9, 2006
    10
    As inspired as it gets. A ballet movie for people who don't even like ballet. You can't help but walk out dancing, even if it's only inside and you'll wake up dancing the next day. Expand
  3. TimM.
    Oct 27, 2005
    10
    If you like ballet or have any interest in the artistic collaboration that was fostered by the Ballets Russes projects, then this film is a gold mine. Of course if you're like critic Bob Westal, don't bother. I don't think a documentary that can appeal to those with no initial interest in a subject can end up digging as deeply into the topic as the devotees would like. Maybe there's a place for lighter-weight, introductory documentaries, but with the depth of fascinating details available to tell in *this* story, to do anything less than cover it in depth strikes me as utterly inadequate. Expand
  4. LindaM.
    Feb 16, 2006
    10
    What a Joy! I wished that it would go on forever. A fabulous look in to the origins of 20th century ballet. How wonderful to see the archival footage of those fabulous ageing dancers. To see them then and now. There bodies old now, but a spirit that is still young and full of life and joy of dance. How wonderful to have a look into what a dancer's life was like when dance itself began to change and evolve. Many of these wonderful people have passed away since this film was released. If this film was never made, so much of what they had to say would be lost to us forever. I can't wait to own the DVD! Expand
  5. PeterS.
    Jan 5, 2006
    9
    Bob Westal of Film Threat calls this a "conventional PBS style videooc." Well, it's structure is conventional, but the interplay of contemporary interviews with historical dance footage, carefully (yes!) choreographed with appropriate ballet music is a brilliant piece of edfiting and rivets one's attention. People who think they might like dance should see this, because then they'll know that they do. Mea Culpa: Okay, I know the directors, but I'd say this even if I didn't. Expand
  6. PaulD.
    Nov 3, 2006
    9
    Excellent documentary that acts as a valentine to a bygone age. The dance footage is marvelous, and made me want to see extended versions of some of the performances. Dancing must be good for your health and spirit, since many of the Ballet Russes' dancers worked well into their 80's and even 90's. Inspirational and entertaining at the same time. Expand
  7. JayW.
    Dec 4, 2005
    6
    A conventional, sweetly-done and utterly predictable tear-jerker. Deeply flawed, in my apparently singular opinion, by a near-complete failure to place itself in historical context. After all, there was a war on, the gravest calamity to befall modern Europe, with tens of millions of Soviet citizens murdered, and not one of the performers having anything to say about anything but their precious careers. Perhaps the cutting room floor had more, but we'll never know. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews

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