Mezzanine presents: THE COMPANY in 35mm + ONE DAY PINA ASKED…
Director: Robert Altman Run Time: 185 min. Format: 35mm Release Year: 2003
Starring: Barbara E. Robertson, James Franco, Malcolm McDowell, Neve Campbell, William Dick
Still unavailable on streaming or high-definition, Robert Altman’s penultimate film is his last truly great work, a meditation on the artistic process through a typically roving, Altmanesque ensemble view of a Chicago dance company. Conceived alongside star Neve Campbell (an ex-ballerina, who co-wrote and co-produced the film) and shot on then-new high-definition video cameras, the film depicts a season of the Joffrey Ballet, directed by a demanding former dancer (Malcolm McDowell, a clear Altman stand-in) who steadily guides the company through the rigors of training, injuries, scheduling challenges, financial difficulties, and conflicts. With Altman’s tradenark overlapping dialogue, incomplete thoughts and unresolved actions, The Company is an immersion into life–and art–in development. Written by Barbara Turner, and co-starring James Franco as a chef who becomes Campbell’s lover.
“This elegant movement in still life unravels as a profound metaphor for both the filmmaking process and life itself.” -Slant Magazine
“The closest that Robert Altman has come to making an autobiographical film…The movie almost offhandedly shows us how hard dancers work.” Roger Ebert
“The most interesting aspect of Robert Altman’s feature with and about Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet is how hard it is to separate its documentary elements from its fictional ones.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum.
ONE DAY PINA ASKED…
1983, France, 57m, DCP
In this fortuitous encounter between two icons of film and dance, Chantal Akerman observes the work of choreographer Pina Bausch and her Wuppertal, Germany-based dance company. An Icarus Films release.
“In Bausch’s stagings, as in Akerman’s dramas, ordinary gestures are emphasized and formalized into dances, and Akerman films Bausch’s dancers as she films the actors in such movies as Jeanne Dielman and Toute une Nuit. Observing the dancers behind the scenes and in their dressing rooms as they dress, smoke, apply makeup, and sing, Akerman sees their preparations and meditations as continuous with their public performances; her interviews with members of the company are echoed in their dancing. If Bausch’s choreography no longer existed, Akerman’s films could be excerpted to convey something of its essence—and Bausch herself, serenely avowing her poetic aspirations, becomes one of Akerman’s characters.” -Richard Brody, The New Yorker