Cinema Arts Festival Houston
La Danse, Fredrick Wiseman’s documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet, drew a crowd to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Thursday night that included several Houston Ballet dancers.
The doc studiously (perhaps a bit too studiously) details the daily routines of the dancers. It depicts performances ranging from the jolly Nutcracker to a very bloody Medea, along with the hour after hour of tedious practice that makes the performances possible. In typical Wiseman fashion, the viewers are also introduced the ballet’s bureaucrats, maintenance men, and fund-raisers.
Even the house bee keeper.
The sight of Lehman Brothers execs being treated to a backstage view of the ballet, in exchange for a hefty contribution, evoked a nervous chuckle.
Why weren’t they home minding their bank?
When Cinema Arts Festival curator Richard Herskowitz booked the film, he had no idea that The New York Times’ film critic A. O. Scott was going to run a high-profile review of it (in which Scott called L’Danse “one of the finest dance films ever made”).
But suddenly the movie is “hot,” according to the MFAH’s Marian Luntz. It’ll open at the Angelika in December or January.
Speaking of the Angelika, a 9:45 p.m. screening of Amores Perros drew a full house to one of the theater’s smaller auditoriums. Working on Mexico City time (and long after this writer’s bedtime), writer Guillermo Arriaga did his Q&A after the 150-minute had unspooled.