All seven arts are shoehorned into "Aurore," a once-upon-a-time ballet film whose young protagonists lack the charisma needed to bring a somewhat arbitrary and derivative fairy tale to life. Helmer Nils Tavernier's docus about the Paris Opera Ballet and hoofers at the Moulin Rouge showed the dedication of professional dancers.

All seven arts are shoehorned into “Aurore,” a once-upon-a-time ballet film whose young protagonists lack the charisma needed to bring a somewhat arbitrary and derivative fairy tale to life. Helmer Nils Tavernier’s docus about the Paris Opera Ballet and hoofers at the Moulin Rouge showed the dedication of professional dancers; here, in his fiction debut, Tavernier rarely deploys the camera to best showcase the dancers’ movements. Little girls may be the natural aud for this handsomely designed tale of love and dance in a long-ago kingdom.

Princess Aurore (student dancer Margaux Chatelier) regularly defies the decree of the king (Francois Berleand), her father, against dancing. When the shifty treasurer (Thibault de Montalembert) reveals the coffers are bare, the king resolves to marry Aurore to a rich suitor. But Aurore only has eyes — and forbidden dance improvisations — for the poor young painter (Nicolas Le Riche, from Paris Opera Ballet), who is doing her portrait. Radiating effortless grace, actress Carole Bouquet, as the queen, inadvertently upstages the central couple, cast more for their dance talent than their acting. Choreography may please dance mavens but score is rarely memorable and enchantment only intermittent.

Aurore

France

Production

A Les Films du Losange release of an Emilie Georges and Nils Tavernier presentation of a La Cinefacture, France 2 Cinema production, with participation of Canal Plus, CNC, TPS Star. (International sales: Memento Films Intl., Paris.) Produced by Emilie Georges. Directed by Nils Tavernier. Screenplay, Tavernier, Marjolaine Nonon, Marc Quentin, Jean Cosmos, based on an idea by Tavernier.

Crew

Camera (color), Antoine Roch; editor, Florence Ricard; music, Carolin Petit; production designer, Emmanuelle Duplay; costume designer, Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle. Reviewed at UGC Danton, Paris, March 27, 2006. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Margaux Chatelier, Carole Bouquet, Francois Berleand, Nicolas Le Riche, Monique Chaumette, Thibault de Montalembert, Kader Belarbi, Yann Bridard, Yutaka Takei.
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