DOCUMENTARY / FRANCE / 2018 / 89 MINS / CTC
Each summer, thousands of people from all over Europe flock to the picturesque small town of Gennetines, near Moulins in the French countryside, for the town’s annual folk-dancing festival, Le Grand Bal. It is this highly anticipated annual dance event that sits at the heart of Laetitia Carton’s euphoric, fly-on-the-wall documentary.
Taking place over seven days and eight nights, participants converge on a gigantic estate with multiple dance floors, all under marquees, where musicians and bands perform 90-minute sets from around 9pm until 3am. Everything from waltzes, mazurkas and la bourrée are danced each evening with the participants defying fatigue and gradually losing all sense of time. Sunrise breakfasts seamlessly blend into intense workshops as they challenge themselves to expand their dance repertoire before the next evening’s revelry begins.
Mixing the observational with personal anecdotes told through voice-over, Laetitia Carton chronicles more than just the 200 hours of music and dance taking place at Gennetines’ Le Grand Bal. She also takes a profound look into social pastimes that, whilst often celebrated, are rarely explored from such a perspective of unadulterated joy and generosity of spirit.
"This documentary throws itself in the joyous whirlwind that is a summer festival, uniting dancers of all ages and backgrounds."– La Croix
DIRECTED BY: LAETITIA CARTON