Academy Award nominee for Best
Foreign Film of 1983 and winner of three Cesars (The French
"Oscar"), Ettore Scola's Le Bal is one of the great
rarities of world cinema.
Directed by Ettore Scola
US critics were dazzled by its grace
and charm. Among them, Vincent Canby of the New York Times,
who called the film a "dreamlike extravaganza." And Judith
Crist/WOR-TV, "...one of the most memorable movies...in years."
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times appropriately hailed it as
"A Chorus Line of everyday people."
Le Bal takes place in a
dance hall and its plot communicated entirely through mime, its pop music
soundtrack and period ballroom dances. The prologue section, set in
present time, introduces us to the cast of characters. Then, the
hall lights go on. The couples pair off. the music begins.
And in a series of flashback sequences that use key moments in modern
French history as their backdrop, we are presented with a clever yet
poignant social commentary of prewar, postwar and modern times.
In seven vignettes, the dance hall
and its customers are seen as the focal points for the whirlwind of
political and social change sweeping French culture in the five decades
from the '30s to the present. As expressed through the music, social
mores and dress of each era, the cast irresistibly conveys a more
universal theme - modern man's never-ending search for love and an end to
Based on the popular theatrical
production which was created for the French Theatre du Campagnol, Le
Bal was adapted for the screen by co-writer/director Ettore Scola,
whose best-known films include the highly regarded La Nuit de Varennes
and A Special Day. Le Bal won Scola the coveted Silver Bear
Award for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival.