By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated December 02, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

Frederick Wiseman applies his famously immersive, unnarrated documentary approach to La Danse: Le Ballet de l’Opera de Paris, an empathic, impressionistic portrait of the renowed French ballet company. The result is a rapturous (if occasionally disorienting) dance film precisely choreographed with seeming artlessness. In tracking the staging of seven ballets, Wiseman and cinematographer John Davey admire lithe bodies in motion, spent dancers at rest, seamstresses sewing, administrators negotiating, workmen repairing the company’s grand edifice, and classical art kept alive in modern Paris. A-

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