Thursday, 13 October
New cinema space: Le bal
LE BAL * 1983 * (Ballando ballando) * Directed by Ettore Scola * 109 minutes * Without dialogue
all the radical changes society underwent in the last half of the 20th century, explained through danceThe great Italian director Ettore Scola has been hugely neglected outside his homeland, so we decided to screen one of his most overlooked and innovative masterpieces. Le Bal opens up with a elderly barman entering a French ballroom. He turns on the lights, closes the curtains, and soon the female guests arrive. What then unfolds is a panoramic depiction of a single ballroom in Paris over the course of five decades. So the movie consists of five sequences, the first starting in the 1930s and the last being in the '80s. The film is ravishing, with everything being communicated visually with no dialogue, much like a Jacques Tati film. And like a Tati film, this movie is not actually about dance even though it takes place in a dance hall - it is about our society and all the radical changes it's undergone for the last half century. Le bal covers a whole range of emotions—it's comic, sentimental, nostalgic, colorful, but also intelligent, contemplative and insightful.
But at the same time the movie also works as a history of France, as it shifts into WWII, and then through the German occupation, the Algerian war, the youth revolution of 68, and then continues into the '70s. It also brings issues into the scene like racism, the victims of war, and the dreams and fears of every zeitgeist. And hey, it's of course also a history of music and dance styles, covering tango, rumba, fox trot, rock n' roll twist and disco. It is an eclectic, innovative movie which is a fiction film but also serves as a mirror of the social reality around us.
It's hard to believe, but the film is enchanting from start to finish, without the slightest lag or slip. Not only is the fact that there are no words spoken not a gimmick, but any dialogue would have ruined this beautifully polished gem. It's an utter tragedy that it has been almost impossible to see for decades... so let's pay tribute to Ettore Scola by giving it a well deserved screening.
Le bal was the winner of the 1984 César Award for Best Film, and was Algeria's official submission to the 1984's Oscars as Best Foreign Language Film category.
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time: