Fri May 20 | 3:30pm | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Tue May 24 | 7:00pm | AMC Pacific Place
Set in the world of ballet in Cuba. It focuses on three generations of dancers, a grand dame luxuriating in the fame of her past accomplishments, the Big Star of the moment, and an aspiring dancer. Anything set in Cuba is fun to watch, what a place!
Ballet confuses me. On one hand, it takes young girls and enmeshes them in what is, on many levels, a systematic challenge to their self esteem. They are endlessly criticized by their teachers, forced to strive toward very artificial standards of perfection, ruthlessly eliminated from advancement in grueling competitions, expected to give up any non-ballet interests or pursuits, physically challenged in objectively cruel ways. On the other hand, it is one of the few pursuits in which the stars are virtually always women, and they are treated royally. Being in great shape and doing difficult things is a wonderful experience, and participation is (creepy parents aside) voluntary. Also confusing: I don’t really enjoy watching ballet, except for the occasional times I am brought to tears by the sheer beauty of a moment.