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Etoiles - Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet (2003)

Laurent Hilaire , Aurélie Dupont , Nils Tavernier  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Laurent Hilaire, Aurélie Dupont, Elisabeth Platel, Nicolas Le Riche, Manuel Legris
  • Directors: Nils Tavernier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AZT67
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,850 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Etoiles - Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Revealing, emotional and surprising- you might expect its beauty but not its intelligence. --Los Angeles Times

Dance lovers will adore it! A fluid, intelligent and empathetic examination of one of the world's great ballet troupes. --Los Angeles Daily News

Sublime artistry! --Variety

Product Description

ETOILES: DANCERS OF THE PARIS OPERA BALLET celebrates the legacy one of the best ballet companies in the world by weaving together rehearsals, tour snapshots and performances of classical ballets such as Swan Lake and La Sylphide, as well as contemporary works such as Maurice Bejart's Ninth Symphony, Jiri Kylian's Doux Mensonge (Sweet Lies) and Pierre Darde's Orison. Celebrated filmmaker Nils Tavernier endeavors to understand the psychology of dance by talking candidly with some of the biggest stars in dance today. The film also features interviews with the dancers who explain how and why they endure the emotional and physical hardships of their profession in their intense drive to be on stage.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just behind the scenes... February 7, 2005
A variety of experiences are presented through interviews with members of the company, from the principal dancers (etoiles) to the understudies. It allows us to hear first-hand the opinions on issues such asthe pressures of being an etoile; the decision whether to start families from both the male and female dancer's perspectives; the reservations a former etoile has about her daughter's career choice, who is now in the company, as well as the pressure that daughter feels being the child of a former etoile; dancers who love dancing more important than life itself, to dancers who appear more cynical, and seem to take dancing as more of a career than a passion; the labors of the understudies to learn ALL the choreography knowing full well they will likely not get to perform them, but hopefully wait in the sidelines just in case...; dancers who have stage fright, etc.

You see how physically difficult dancing is, not just the beautiful illusion that is portrayed on stage. You see the process of rehearsal, including arguing like "No, you need to put your hand HERE, or else you'll drop me." You see the lines drawn on the stage to help dancers hit their mark; you see the beautiful swan-like ballerinas with sweat pouring down their faces during a performance; you see them leap gracefully on stage, and once they're backstage they pace about holding their backs and stomachs, panting in exhaustion just as a marathon runner would; you see rehearsals and find out how beneath the music, the chorus dancers sound like stampeding horses because of the pointe shoes; and the dancers bandaging their blisters, describing how uncomfortable rock hard pointe shoes are.

These are things you don't get to see and don't know about unless you are a dancer yourself.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars etoiles April 18, 2004
By A Customer
This is well-done, and 'a voyeur's look' at the Paris Opera Ballet, as promised. You do get a good behind the scenes look at this great company, how dancers are trained, how they work in both rehersal and performance, even how they make-up for a performance. My big criticism, though, is that the subtitles get cut off at the bottom. Usually the line, or the second line if there are 2 lines of text, is cut so that you only see the top half (or less) of the letters. This is a huge distraction as its hard to follow. The camera shots then seem too fast and chaotic, probably because it takes so much more time to decipher the subtitles that by the time you get it the picture's changing again. I'm not sure if it was meant for the wide screen, and they never edited the frames for a television, but I think this could have been avoided. It doesn't exactly ruin it, but it definitely detracts.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into the french ballet style February 11, 2004
This dvd is beautifully done and very up to date. It provides a very interesting look into the life of ballet dancers in France. It has those wonderful segments of classroom rehersals that students of ballet ( such as myself ) long to see in documentaries ( for example, a very intersting classroom performance of the male solo adagio at the end of act one of Swan Lake is provided ). This dvd is a "must have" addition to any serious dance video collection.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Etoiles October 29, 2003
By A Customer
For the ballet fans, the Paris Opera Ballet Company is the one of the best in the world, and this DVD tells & shows you what is like inside of the company. What you see on the stage and/or on screen is just a part of their hard work that you can't easily imagine. Being the top dancers of the company like Paris Opera & keeping their position as they are expected are not easy at all. You are able to see & hear how this ballet company is organized, and how the dancers feel about their passion of dance. I really enjoyed watching this documentary, and recommend to the people who are curious about the dancers' life not only how they dance.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edifying and thought-provoking July 28, 2008
By Hawkeye
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What makes ballet worth the time and effort required of the dancers? What's the payoff? Etoile (star) Claire-Marie Osta says she has a mystical side and considered being a nun but was afraid that would afford insufficient opportunity for physical expression. She needed, in other words, to be a flying nun. The commitment required by ballet closes many other doors, but she never considered those opportunity costs as "sacrifices" because they are repaid a hundredfold. What's it like to move onto the brightly-lighted stage from the dark wings? "C'est magic," she says with a Mona Lisa smile.
Marie-Agnes Gillot is asked if she loves ballet. Love is too weak a word, she answers. Former dancer Ghislaine Thesmar (who now rehearses dancers and is married to choreographer Pierre Lacotte) describes aspiring dancers not as students but "disciples." She admits that the system is a machine that "crushes" the weak (who are, of course, still children). Is it inhumane? Gillot says she "got some whacks" but "turned out OK." Indeed, she loved her time at ballet school. The goal of the elders is to pass on their love of ballet and foster talent. There is no affirmative action for the kinesthetically-challenged, and self-esteem arises only as a byproduct of achievement. Yet Thesmar is manifestly sensitive to the needs of individual dancers-- a fact confirmed by etoile Agnes Letestu, who credits Thesmar for not trying to make her over in Thesmar's image.
Giggles are ubiquitous in this documentary. There's competition, uncertainty, stage fright, and lots of sweat, but these people are having fun. Lower-ranking dancers may spend six weeks of practice for two minutes of performance in "Swan Lake." It's insane, says Thesmar.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 17 days ago by Oscar Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful backstage view of POB
You can never see anything much better than this. These dancers, sadly, are mostly retired now. But, it's wonderful to see then and hear their personal stories. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Myra Lieberman
1.0 out of 5 stars Review of Etoiles
I have this movie up for sale. This is a foreign dvd and does not even have subtitles. Since I am a ballet person myself
I was very disappointed especially since I wanted to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Debra Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Behind the scenes...I'm a dancer and loved getting a backstage view...they make u write too many words to review. Love the movie tho!
Published 16 months ago by Angela N Patmon
5.0 out of 5 stars happy customer
I really expected that kind of quality, I'm very happy with this product,thanks a lot!!! For sure I will be a happy customer!!!
Published 19 months ago by Ronmel Alencastro
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant, Stirring, Breathtaking Experience
I'm not a balletomane, but a photographer and am excited by images. I have a few ballets on tape of famous dancers but they don't hold my attention through a full ballet, but I... Read more
Published on September 7, 2012 by Rudi Franke
5.0 out of 5 stars rbg
Awesome video. I highly recommend this video for instructors and dancers, alike. It is inspiring, motivating and artistically spiritual. Great video.
Published on May 13, 2011 by Rena B. Garcia
2.0 out of 5 stars Subtitles cut off
If you speak french this dvd is probably fine - but for me there are better dvd's that focus on a dancer's life in a ballet company. Read more
Published on September 28, 2006 by J. Bousman
5.0 out of 5 stars Bejart's Ninth Symphony
To be able to see some portions of Bejart's'Ninth Symphony" itself is worth owning this DVD. I wish they have the entire performance recorded to be released. Read more
Published on February 8, 2005 by tulip
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