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Carolyn Carlson - Signes

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Signes

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Marie-Agnes Gillot, Kader Belarbi, Rene Aubrey, Paris Opera Ballet
  • Directors: Olivier Debre
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Dolby, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Bel Air Classiques
  • DVD Release Date: May 8, 2007
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MQCAHS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,157 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Signes is an artistic endeavor based on a year-long collaboration between choreographer Carolyn Carlson, composer Rene Aubrey and the great abstract artist Olivier Debre. The result is breathtaking and original in every respect, from the dancing to the music to the huge paintings that make the background. Or what normally would be called background -- in fact Debre's work is integral and on occasion takes center stage with the dancers. I was not familiar with Rene Aubrey's music before, but within the context of this contemporary ballet it is memorable.

The dancing is mesmerizingly perfect. As always, the POB corp dances impeccably. The long-limbed Marie-Agnes Gillot deservedly was awarded the status of etoile for her performance as the female lead. But most remarkable was Kader Belarbi. His role is principally comprised of many small movements, a turning of the hand or arm, a shift in posture. He manages to do even the smallest motion with gravitas and power. In this production Belarbi is near the end of his great career, and it is hard to imagine anyone with less maturity dancing in his place.

As with a number of other recent POB DVDs, the production quality of the DVD is top notch, although it is sometimes frustrating when the camera is shifted to a close up of one of the dancers, and I am left wondering what is going on elsewhere on the stage.

But one warning for the ballet purists: although there is the occasional arabesque and plie, this is contemporary dance. But the classical training shines through to create a production worth watching over and over again.
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"Signes" treats the stage as a living organism, with decor, dancers, lighting, music interacting to create a total work of art. It is all taken in through your eyes and ears. What you see is what it is. And it is wonderful! California-born choreographer Carolyn Carlson (at one time with the Alwin Nikolais company, her career has centered in Europe) took her cues from paintings elaborated as scenery by artist Olivier Debré, indeed one could say that the colors and the moving panels inspired the choreography as opposed to the normal procedure in which the choreography is developed first and sets and costumes are developed upon it. Carlson has worked with composer René Aubry before, so that the original score also developed organically as the choreography moved along (Stravinsky's Agon, I believe, also was developed this way, between the composer and Balanchine). Patrice Besombes' lighting must be noted as part of this collaboration. The result is a merry fusion of color, sound and movement making space vibrate as a fully integrated whole.

No single element of "Signes" can stand on its own; it has to be taken as presented. The music is a sort of gallic minimalism with hints of Michel Legrand pop and Brian Eno's ambient experiments. It's never challenging and always charms. The dancing (modern, not ballet) is fun. Movements tend to be small scaled, but sweep there is when called for. It is thoroughly integrated with the music and the shifting decor. Costumes, of course, are also by M. Debré and are integral to the visual whole. Marie-Agnes Gillot, a tall, long-limbed supple woman, turns in a virtuoso performance combining elegance, strength, fluidity and femininity. Kader Belarbi's part seems to be all about control and he executes it flawlessly.
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Episodic? Yes. Abstract in form ? Yes.Do you have to understand the song of a bird to enjoy what you are hearing ? No and that is one if the reasons I have again enjoyed the experience that this production is. Not for a narrative but to go along for the ride- a fusion of painting colour dance and music which transitions seamlessly from one mood change to another raising questions rather than providing set answers- which to me is the challenge of good art and moves us from our comfort zone to a new level. The Rite of Spring did it and here's another work which attempts to push the boundary yet again.
And what an extension with Gillot and Belarbi so good along with the PO corps de ballet (as always)! There were moments when I was holding my breath it was so engaging.
After that I have to recommend it to anyone who has a love of dance if only for one particular episode which stood out above the rest (and you will find your own I'm sure).
It does suffer from the affliction some film directors have of not understanding the language of dance (too many closeup and three quarter body shots thus missing events in the big picture as has been mentioned) but as a whole this is a visual treat.It was also close to blu-ray quality with picture and audio (which may be due to the superb upscaling of my blu-ray player and the plasma screen I played it on) so that also was an unexpected plus.
Wiithout hesitation-highly recommended.
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I bought this DVD for a friend but kept it myself as I loved it. I was going to watch just a couple of scenes but the choreography and scenery as well as the athleticism of the dancers kept me enthralled. Would definitely recommend.
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The choreography, the scenery,the dancing, the music, all concur to bless you with the essence of BEAUTY ! No more needs to be said.
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