Whirling on the beach with Le Grand Bal (The Grand Ball)

Film still of Le Grand Bal (The Grand Ball) © RR

During the summer of 2016, Laetitia Carton filmed the entirety of the Grand Balls of Europe, a popular gathering organized each year in Auvergne around traditional and folk dancing. Here are three reasons to go see the preview showing of the Le Grand Bal (The Grand Ball), a colourful and lively film that whirled its way onto the screen at Cinéma de la plage with the director in attendance. Musicians and 40 dancers got the audience up and dancing at the end of the screening.

For the story behind this unique popular gathering

Each year for the past 27 years, more than 500 musicians and dancers from all over Europe have descended upon Gennetines in the French department of Allier to play and dance to live traditional tunes. Over the course of several days, 8 dance floors are set up at a large farm that hosts nightly balls as well as classes for beginners. Since 2017, the event has been extended to fifteen days.

For the story behind a film shoot vibrating with colours

For seven days and eight nights, two film crews filmed back-to-back, one during the day and other at night, using two cameras to capture all the festivities. The idea was to “miss nothing within this whirlwind in order to create a whirlwind of a film,Laetitia Carton explains. Two film shoots were organized to produce the film since the Ball took place at two different locations during the summer of 2016.

For the energy of this film about living in harmony

To transpose all the energy of the dancers and musicians onto the screen, the director and her teams set out to directly share in the experience of the 2,000 people who come each year from all over Europe to participate in the Ball. The camera hugs the body, gets in close and moves away, but it also films the bonds created between the participants. “We wanted to show how different it is when people finally dare to touch, when they truly live in harmony. And that life pulsates,” Laetitia Carton states.