23 July, 2008
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York will host the first American retrospective of French dance film master Dominique Delouche. The program, Dominique Delouche: Ballet Cineaste, opens tomorrow evening at the Walter Reade Theater, the Film Society's flagship cinema. The five day series will present the outstanding works of a film master who deserves wider recognition in the United States. The acclaimed director will be present to introduce the films from his unique career.
Trained as a young man in piano, theater, classical singing, architecture and painting, Delouche entered filmmaking in the early 1950s when he met Federico Fellini at the Venice Film Festival. He went on to assist the maestro on Il Bidone (The Swindle), Nights of Cabiria, and La Dolce Vita, before directing a trio of narrative features: 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman (1969); Man of Desire (1971); and Divine (1975). Yet his primary interests as a filmmaker were always opera and dance.
Starting in the 1980s, Delouche created seven feature-length dance portraits that has since become his forte and his unique artistic contribution to the worlds of both film and dance. The series includes such esteemed portrait films as Katia et Volodia (1988) and Les Cahiers retrouvés de Nina Vyroubova (1995), both of which capture the rare beauty of some of ballet’s most celebrated talents.
Other films to be showcased over the next five days include: Cannes Film Festival selection Yvette Chauviré: Une étoile pour l’exemple (1981); Serge Peretti, le dernier italien (1997); Maïa (1999); Markova, la legende (2001); and Violette et Mr. B (2001). The unifying theme in all these films are a rare behind-the-scenes look at the difficult but rewarding world of ballet, as recorded in coaching sessions and first-person interviews.
One of the highlights of the series is the rare screening of La Fille mal gardée (1989), a unique look at a performance of the 18th-century ballet classic by the Ballets de Nantes, choreographed by Ivo Cramér . Delouche co-directed the performance and created its sets and costumes.
As an added bonus, the series also highlights Delouche’s early career, showcasing his work as assistant director to Federico Fellini with a screening of Nights of Cabiria (1957). Delouche’s first feature, 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman (1968), starring Danielle Darrieux, will also be screened.
The dance film program has been timed to parallel the Lincoln Center Festival, a multi-media performance series that includes live music, theater, opera and dance. For more information on the series, log on to the Film Society's website: www.filmlinc.com