Saturday, July 9, 2011

Children Of Paradise Ballet - LIVE - From Paris Ballet Opera - In Cinema

Yep.  I took a break from Bridge Tournaments and my Leonard Cohen  activities to go to a live transmission of a Ballet from the Palais Garnier in Paris, Children Of Paradise.  The Ballet is based on an old film classic and piqued my interest sufficiently for an (ugh) 10:30 am screening.
Inspired by Jacques Prévert’s scenario for Marcel Carné’s film, José Martinez brings to life 19th-century Paris, revealing a magical and mysterious world. Choreography by José Martinez. Music by Marc-Olivier Dupin.

Paris, mid-19th century, shortly before the 1848 Revolution. On Boulevard du Crime, where most theatres were concentrated. Mime Baptiste Debureau and actor Frédérick Lemaitre are two young emerging artists of the Théâtre des Funambules. Their lives cross with Garance, a very beautiful young woman who has lived a lot. Baptiste falls in in love with her but Frédérick is the one who manages to win her favours. Garance conceals a grim secret: she is involved in crimes committed by Lacenaire, an anarchist and a murderer. To escape her past, Garance flees and and marries a nobleman. Seven years later, Debureau and Lemaitre are now famous artists; Garance reappears
. (Laemmle)


As noted by one critic, "in French, 'paradis' is the colloquial name for the gallery or second balcony in a theater, where common people sat and viewed a play, responding to it honestly and boisterously. The actors played to these gallery gods, hoping to win their favor, the actor himself thus being elevated to an Olympian status." The film contains many shots of the audience hanging over the edge of these balconies (which are similarly known as "the gods" in the British theatre), and screenwriter Jacques Prévert stated that the title "refers to the actors [...] and the audiences too, the good-natured, working-class audience."   (wikipedia)
For detailed background of the the original movie "Les Enfants Du Paradis" and the Ballet, two good sources are: Culture Kiosk Dance Review click here.  and Wikipedia click here.

Because the Paris time zone was compatible with my Pacific Time zone here, I was able to watch this Ballet live at a cinema very close to me. (Paris 7:30 pm=Los Angeles 10:30 am)

The Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino, is an art house cinema just off a lovely serene courtyard with a cafe and shops.

I deliberately arrived about a minute before showtime, thinking this esoteric ballet would not attract a lot of people, especially at 10:30 am. To my surprise--well a ticket did cost $20--the theatre was almost full.  Luckily, I found a good seat so I was happy.

The Ballet was thrilling.  One of the best I have seen. Full of the usual French trademarks - courtesans, noblemen, harlequins, criminals and unrequited love

The close ups made for a powerful experience, an advantage not afforded one attending a live performance in a theatre.


(wikipedia) Palais Garnier  The inspiration for Gaston Leroux's 1910 Gothic novel, The Phantom Of The Opera

During the intermission with the cameras still running live, we watched a duo performance on the Grand Staircase of the historic Palais Garnier.

A dramatic finish to the delight of the crowd at the Palais Garnier.

The crowd gave them well deserved hearty cheers.

And one last live shot before the intermission ended. The famous Palais Garnier door with the two caryatids, Tragedy and Comedy.

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