First Impression: Reset: A Story of Creation conceals truth within ballet beauty

Ati Metwaly , Monday 7 Nov 2016

Reset is screened in the Documentary Rendez-vous section of the ongoing Panorama of the European Film, 2-13 November

(Photo: still from Reset)

Directed by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai, Reset: A Story of Creation (2015) provides a unique view of the famed Paris Opera Ballet, a company with a weighty history and tradition. 

The film follows Benjamin Millepied, a French-born, US-educated dancer and choreographer, as he creates his ballet Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward, choreographed to the contemporary classical music of American composer Nico Muhly.

As well as working on the ballet, Millepied, a former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, is also the Parisian company's artistic director, a post which he took on in October 2014 and from which he resigned in February 2016.

Interwoven within the cinematic beauty of the film and the insights into the captivating world of ballet, the documentary reveals bits and pieces of the traditional – and as we see, rigid and somewhat change-resistant – artistic and managerial values of this world-renowned company.

Millepied is obviously trying to implement changes, to bend the opera's team to his somewhat different artistic vision which he perceives as going hand-in-hand with the natural change of the world, technology and art.

While the seemingly main purpose of Reset was to capture the final 39 days of the making of Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward, in doing so the filmmakers not only look behind the scenes of the famed ballet company, they also shed light on some of the dynamics that can cripple the institution.

As we follow the choices made by the filmmakers, we see how the tradition, artistic hierarchy, rigid principles that dominate the company do not support the creative development of its members.

However, as if deciding to respect some secrets, Demaizière and Teurlai lift just a small corner of the veil -- just enough to give us a basic look behind the scenes wrapped in an aesthetically beautiful cinematic work.

While we do get a hint of the dancers’ hard work, hesitations and fears, the filmmakers choose to look at them from a distance. In beauty they conceal the darkest shades of the ballet world.

(Photo: still from Reset)

Reset: A Story of Creation will be screened on Monday 7 November, at 3:30pm at Cinema Karim and on Thursday 10 November at 10:30am at Zawya.

Check the complete programme of Panorama for Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia and Port Said here.

Ahram Online is the media sponsor of The Panorama of the European Film and of Zawya.

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