From the film to the ballet…
From the film to the ballet
15 Jul 2010
From the film to the ballet

One of my main motivations for creating the choreography Les Enfants du Paradis was to develop the tremendous potential and magic of this performance—on stage, facing the audience, and in the wings, making for a troubled mix of real life and the universe of the stage. I also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to perform this creation at the Palais Garnier, with its pomp, its machinery and its public spaces that resemble the sets of the film.

Les Enfants du Paradis to me is also a highly choreographed film, alternating crowd scenes with duos and trios–a little like in a classical ballet. The camera movements are an integral part of this choreography.

A choreography can suggest situations through body movements, represent emotions through strong images, evoke poetry that speaks to the viewer’s imagination, and show relationships between characters. But because of its very essence, it cannot dwell on anecdotic details or reveal complex psychology that a movie dialog can express with realism or irony.

Dance can provide a translation of the film, which is composed of stark contrasts—the good, the bad, the poor, the rich, the artists, the bourgeoisie, the lovers, and the souls with dry hearts. Without seeking to illustrate Prévert’s subtle and brilliant  dialogs, it’s possible to transpose this popular fresco, the magical poem about crazy love, while keeping the film’s essence, the realism-romanticism so dear to the Carné-Prévert duo.

Les Enfants du Paradis, which has become a well-known cult film, commands respect, of course (meaning not deviating from the original script  and following the authors’ directions), but it also leaves open the possibility to adapt some scenes to live performing.

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