A dance about a piece of music within a film about dance. From celebrated film director, screenwriter and Cahiers du cinéma critic Olivier Assayas (Paris, je t’aime, Boarding Gate) comes Eldorado / Preljocaj, a riveting, two-part documentary chronicling the efforts of Ballet Preljocaj to choreograph an otherworldly icon of 21st century music: Karlheinz Stockhausen’s ethereal Sonntags-Abschied. With a camera both patient and obsessive, as determined to translate gesture into film as Ballet Preljocaj is to turn tone into gesture, Mr. Assayas uses a voyeur’s eye to transform the private rituals of the rehearsal process into a public drama of human perseverance.
If at times the audience sees the dancers’ bodies at one with Stockhausen’s electronic soundscape, at other moments, the audience sees the all-too-human flesh beautifully lost in translation. What results is a riveting testament to three arts in dialogue—and to the ineluctable human desire to translate one into another. –fiaf.org
In the ’90s Olivier Assayas emerged as one of the key figures in the new generation of French filmmakers. As a former critic for Cahiers du Cinema and a die-hard cinephile, he makes his films both personal and referential to the works of directors that he adores. His father was a director/screenwriter in the 1940s who later worked mainly for TV. When it was increasingly difficult for him to work because of a health condition, Olivier started to help him, first merely as a secretary, and then ghostwriting a few screenplays for the Maigret TV series. In the late 1970s he joined the team of influential film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, that once launched the French New Wave. While working for Cahiers he wrote essays on his favorite European filmmakers, Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and published extensive studies on American horror films and Hong Kong Cinema (the latter came out long before Hong Kong cinema became fashionable with Western filmgoers and critics). He collaborated… read more