It was on july 5th, the preview of Lætitia Carton’s movie Le Grand Bal, in the small Luminor, cosy movie theater in the Marais, historical neighbourhood of Paris. It was followed by an amazing streetball organised by Paris Bal Folk, featuring Aurélien Clarambaux and Tony & The Sof. The screening was sold out, and all the parisian dancers were squeezed at the entrance to discover the movie they waited for so long. For a year and a half they watched the trailer, with a big question in mind : beyond the trailer, will the movie represent the true spirit of Gennetines, le Grand Bal, and the atmosphere of bal folk. Will it be possible to send my close relations, the non dancer ones, to the movie and finally say » Go see that movie, you’ll understand what I live and love in bal folk » ?
What if you’re not a dancer ?
As a dancer, you’ll see a lot of familiar faces passing by. A lot of « gosh I danced with that guy/girl too, I sooooo understand the smile on their faces ». Everyone is beautiful, the photography is gorgeous, and so is the music (of course). Everybody laugh when they see a familiar face, or a typical situation. I will ask non dancers, to see if they were captivated as I was. Some voices, some testimonies, are directly addressed to them, with accounts of people leaving early because they couldn’t integrate, people facing refusal because they’re not good enough. The movie shows the great humanity of bal folk, but isn’t hiding its flaws either.
A « neo » movie ?
I am not sure the movie will please to the more traditional dancers amongst us.
Laetitia Carton couldn’t show everything. I guess with all the images she shot, she could have made three movies, with enough images to please beginners, experts, traditional dancers and the mazurka-hug-contact-dancers… But for me, the fundamental is here, and the movie a success. It’s beautiful, it’s delicate. And it leaves you with a smile and wish to go back to Gennetines.