Le Bal

(Ballando, Ballando, Ettore Scola, Italy/France/Algeria, 1983)


The potential of the dance film (as distinct from musical comedy) is one largely untapped in cinema.

The start of Le Bal – with performers and camera slowly, wordlessly exploring the space of a dance hall – promises much.

However, Scola’s film, using the dancers of the Théâtre du Campagnol, is an inert mass of pop history clichés, zapping lifelessly between the disco and swing eras, the Popular Front, May 1968, and the coming of Coca Cola – and each time finding there the same old story of the fight for love and glory.

MORE Scola: Unfair Competition

© Adrian Martin December 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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