Coming to theatres today, Wednesday, October 18:
THE PARIS OPERA
Rendez-vous with French Cinema 2017
San Francisco, Seattle, BAFICI, BelDocs, Docs Against Gravity, Moscow, Locarno, Melbourne, New Zealand, Biografilm, Jerusalem
An observational portrait of the French cultural institution over a tumultuous season.
A project in the vein of Frederick Wiseman’s institutional studies, Bron’s film provides audiences with a privileged behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the Opéra de Paris, whose expansive mandate covers not only opera but orchestral concerts, ballets, and more. Eschewing interviews for fly-on-the-wall scenes, the filmmaker is presented with a bounty of goings on which could fill at least two features, from the debut and quick departure of celebrity ballet director Benjamin Millepied to a national strike hindering full productions to the terror attacks at the Bataclan and elsewhere around Paris, placing other cultural activities under high alert. Beyond the above, other threads include the experiences of a new Russian singer as he adjusts to the Opera and the search for a bull to take on a special role in the opening production of the season. It’s to Bron’s credit that he juggles these events as well as he does, though at times the film does suffer from being overstuffed. Still, it does succeed in offering a rare glimpse of what goes into pulling off world-class performing arts productions.