Frenchman Cédric Klapisch continues with his particular vision of the youth of a disenchanted generation. After ‘Our life in Burgundy’, in which he reflected the impetus of some brothers (thirties and twenties) and wine heirs, and with ‘So close, so far’, in which he knew how to portray the anxieties and burdens of those young people who they are approaching 30 and they see that reality is very different from what they thought; now explore that frustration from another perspective with ‘A step forward’nominated for nine awards at the last 48th edition of the César Awards.
‘A step forward’ follows the recovery process of Élise, a 26-year-old ballet dancer, who sees how her life takes a drastic change after suffering an injury in full direct, when he was dancing ‘La bayadere’ by Léon Minkus. A sprain with which she runs the risk of stopping dancing and which plunges her into a depressive state. Since she is in front of a Klapisch feature film, it can be intuited that the filmmaker will not explore the more melodramatic vein of the dancer’s situationwho was injured in the show after seeing how her boyfriend (main dancer in the show) secretly kissed one of the ballet dancers.
After that bleak start, Klapisch begins the path of recovery of his protagonist. Élise, initially, is carried away by the bad omens, since the medical advice puts her in the worst situation. She is reconnecting with an old friend who left dance what it allows her to get out of that elitist circle that prevents her from seeing that there are different ways to express her vocation and passion for dance. Klapisch narrates what has happened to him, has happened to him, and will happen to many dancers (as well as other professionals whose strength lies in their bodies), that an injury forces them to leave their career.
A formidable portrait of life itself
But Klapisch has the virtue of showing Élise’s opportunity to reinvent herself. Without removing the drama from the situation, the filmmaker exposes how the protagonist, used to being at the top, must learn to climb and that there are various ways to find a place for her vocation. That learning is natural, but it has rarely been exposed in a positive way on the big screen. The filmmaker, who once again signs the script along with his usual collaborator Santiago Amigorena, creates a story of his own personal recovery, of how the dancer learns to rediscover herself. The script transmits magnificent sensations, a positive atmosphere that ends up enveloping the public. Mention for its protagonist, a formidable Marion Barbeau, who is, in real life, a member of the Paris Opera Balletwhere she has achieved the rank of Principal Dancer in the company.
To this is added a very careful artistic aspect. For it features the intervention of the Israeli choreographer and dancer Hofesh Shechter, who plays a fictitious version of himself, showing how dance has different versions of manifesting itself, from the ethereal of classical ballet, in which graceful movements rise; to the most tribal, to the contemporary, where the earthly gains strength. Its musical and artistic section is wonderful, elevating a film that, in itself, enchants.
Klapisch knows how to portray the frustration of millennials and how they can channel it in an optimistic way. With a portrait that once again shows the virtue of the filmmaker when it comes to capturing the small everyday details. A type of cinema that continues to defend its position on the big screen. A masterful example of the French touch in Slice of Life cinema.
The best: His artistic section is sensational. The spirit of ‘good vibes’ that is impregnated throughout the film.
Worst: SPerhaps it is too light at certain times.