Film director Cédric Klapisch, seen above in action mode directing Paris Opera Ballet premiere danseuse Marion Barbeau and contemporary choreographer Hofesh Shechter, continues his balletmania in rendering his latest dance film, RISE. The movie, augured to include marvelous footage of life behind the curtain at the Palais Garnier, is slated for its West Coast premiere this Saturday night, October 15 at the Director’s Guild of America Building where The American French Film Festival is in full force.
Klapisch, a friend to the Festival (the erstwhile COLCOA, with a rename), enjoyed a Festival retrospective in 2014). The fact that RISE is selected as the Saturday night feature of a myriad French feature films, documentaries, short subjects and television programming augurs a good watch.
For me Klapisch’s greatest and eternal claim to fame in the dance world was his creation of a montage the dispersed Paris Opera Ballet dancers in lockdown doing their utmost to stay in shape. From Etoiles to Corphees to Petits Rats, all doing barre in living rooms, back yards, balconies. Released in the wretched pandemic’s darkest days, on April 20, 2020 right after cinemas and theaters had gone dark and cancelled their seasons (lest the nasty bug spread and kill us all!), the video touched viewers universally. Our hearts were breaking, aghast, that classical ballet dancers miss the daily group training classes, let alone performing. Merci beaucoup, Cédric!
Rise‘s hero is Elise, a ballerina with the prestigious Opéra de Paris, on the cusp of her first starring role. Her first starring role! Wouldn’t you know it, mid-performance she slips, injures herself and is told she may never dance again. Rinse and repeat: “You ….. may ….. never ….. dance ….. again. You ….. may ….. never ….. dance ….. again.“ Let’s hope it’s not this guy breaking the bad news.
Elise, fortuitously, is due for an awakening — she sets off to discover what life has in store for her. Here’s hoping, for Elise’s sake, the thing in store is not being a dance critic. She would rather try to make an actual living.
The best of RISE is yet to come. It’s in the grand finale chor’ed by Hofesh Shechter, the Israeli-born, London-based dance maker who has elevated rambling around on the ground to a bombastic fine art. I’m serious. I wouldn’t miss Shechter’s first foray into film choreography — at all. So, I’m going.
Cédric Klapisch is the auteur of fourteen feature films and recipient of three César Awards. Another huge point up for Netflixing Americans is that Klapisch was showrunner on the first season of the hit Netflix series Call My Agent!. His last feature, Someone, Somewhere, was screened at TFAFF in 2019 and his work was honored with a TFAFF Spotlight retrospective in 2014. Rise opened in France this past March to great critical and box-office success.
One brief note: The French title of this movie, “En Corps,” is at once a clever homonym for “encore,” while bearing the meaning “in the body” or even, “in the corps de ballet.” But, what a pity, the selected English title, RISE, is a near write-over (again, a homonym) for one of the best dance films ever, RIZE (2005), a Dave LaChapelle’s exceptional doc on krumping and klowning in South Los Angeles. There’s yet another new movie out as well, RISE (2022), concerning two Nigerian-born basketball-playing brothers signed by the NBA. What on earth is going on here?
RISE (EN CORPS) West Coast Premiere | The American French Film Festival | Director’s Guild of America | Sat Oct 15, 8 pm