David Bintley, director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, explores how the Second World War was the making of British ballet and how fundamental the years of hardship and adversity were in getting the British public to embrace ballet.
Peter is the dark brooding type. Leading a vacuous, shapeless life, he longs for the ideal woman, while at the same time, half heartedly continuing with his habitual girlfriend, Marusa , who is considerably older, a fact that Peter is quick to point out. As an ageing actress, struggling for parts in her local theatre, she oozes insecurity and breathes uncertainty. Together, they spend their time in the local restaurant, smoking, drinking and trading verbal blows. "I bet you'll just end up a drunk," she tells Peter each time. Peter just grins and tells her how old she looks. Compounded by a thankless director who soon shows her the door, Marusa finds her identity being squeezed harder and harder against the wall.
Renowned ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine stars in this charming documentary that offers a unique perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Three diverse Jaffa-based schools host Dulaine’s Dancing Classrooms program. Ballroom basics are taught to an ethnically mixed group of children, the most passionate members of which are trained for a citywide competition. What results is a sweet and incredibly moving tale filled with moments of truth, poignancy and hope.
German guitarist Franz Halász displays a fine sense of tone and pacing in this revealing overview of Takemitsu's solo guitar music. Takemitsu wrote for the concert stage in an original avant-garde idiom, created over 100 film soundtracks, and produced arrangements of Japanese folk tunes and Western popular music. This range, except for the soundtracks, is represented here. The title tracks are from the concert work All in Twilight – Four pieces for guitar (1987), inspired by Paul Klee's painting of the same name. Here Halász's beautiful touch is shown in contrasting and subtle timbres on the composer's rich, jazz-like harmonies, sometimes brooding, sometimes in quickly flowing passages like those of the third movement. Next, the first six of "12 Songs" introduces some technically challenging, but aesthetically straightforward arrangements – Sammy Fain's classic Secret Love, four tunes by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and George Gershwin's Summertime in which Takemitsu spectacularly manages to reduce the best orchestral parts to the limits of the guitar and to improvise in a free-flowing manner.