Monday, January 12, 2009

Ballerinas and B.I.G. -- A Weird Movie Mix


I had to hustle on over to the West Side last week, midday, to see a movie about ballerinas; of course, the hustling over (in the freezing, freezing cold) meant I had to meander back to work hobbling like the gimp I am. It was a documentary called "Ballerina" showing at the Lincoln Center's film center. It follows a few Russian ballerinas at different stages of their careers; it's as devastating, disturbing, beautiful and inspiring as it might seem.

I traipsed over, passing the Philharmonic, Julliard, etc. Had it not been unbearably cold, I'd have wandered listlessly around the old grounds where I'd go see Phil shows by myself ca. early-summer 2007. How sad that I've been wanting to go back for well over a year, to no avail! At least I promised myself that in the coming months I'll have some dignity and take myself back to some symphonies -- or, perhaps, this documentary made me appreciate the ballet enough to consider trying to understand it. (I tend to approach ballet as I do art: with the unabashed admission that I've no fundamental grip on the idea of why these ladies flitting about ought to have emotional significance for me.)

So, the movie might be quite trite; its scenes of Russian wannabe prima ballerinas were beautiful, the scores reminding me of old piano recitals and the dance sequences tapping into depths I've no familiarity with. But, it was jumbled, shot cheaply, and I couldn't get over the narrator's barren, uninspired voice. That said, the making of a modern Russian ballet mogulette is a process as difficult, trying and hard than anything I've seen reminiscent of American gymnasts' ascendence. So impressive, yet so, so exhaustive - even from the viewers' standpoint.

The embedding for the trailer has been disabled, but one of the more disturbing "Ballerina" scenes rests here.

I went back to work (hobble in tow), and had to then leave abruptly at Quittin' Time, so I could make it downtown for "Notorious." I've still no idea how I'm going to write about it; I didn't enjoy it, the maxims and throwaway lines exchanged from Mr. B.I.G./Smalls and Puffy made me want to throw up my little insides -- but, I can see some merit in the movie.

Lord, have mercy, though. They were 24 and 25 -- they started rivalries that spanned the coasts, and for what? I don't think even they knew why. My review comes out on Friday, at which point I'll air my grievances more explicitly.

Still would have to say it was a pretty sh!t movie, and not one to be seen after watching a movie about Russian ballerinas. Harrummpf.