“BALLROOM”–facing crossroads


Facing Crossroads

Amos Lassen

“Ballroom” (aka “Dancing”) the newest film of Patrick Mario Bernard is somewhat based upon a true story. The film is loosely based on the story of the Bernard Brothers, two American entertainers who performed in the United States and Europe in the 1950’s. “Ballroom” attempts to capture the persona as if they were part of life today and in doing so we get a reflection of ourselves.

The brothers face a crossroads—they are faced not only with questions f identity but they seek inspiration. Rene is a multimedia artist struggling to finish a new commission, He lives in the ballroom of an abandoned dance hall. Rene shares this space as well as his bed with his partner, Patrick, a bearish looking scriptwriter who is also at odds about his future. The film begins by examining the two people and shows their commitment to their art as well as to each other but things begin to turn strange. Reality becomes fantasy and fantasy becomes nightmare. The darkness of the men’s lives become dread as many different cinematic genres come together combining psychological drama, thriller, fantasy and hardcore pornography. We are provided with lush and beautiful cinematography so that it is almost like watching a painting come to life.

Very basically, it is a couple of lovers, bears as they are called, who find their seaside home haunted by some very strange apparitions. Rene runs an internet webcam site which shows “bears” in all of their many aspects. He is also working on his next gallery showing. However something bothers him—a malaise that throws him off. He finds a somewhat bizarre photograph of two men which he clips from a magazine. He takes remedies to relieve his discomfort but nothing seems to work. He begins to hear and see strange things as well and it is not certain if he is going mad. Reality begins to blur and becomes frightening. When Rene’s agent sees something that disconcerts him on Rene’s webcam, it is certain that not everything is as it should be.

In essence this is a three character show with the director, Patrick Mario Bernard, screenwriter and director, Pierre Trividic assuming the major roles and with producer Jean-Yves Jouannais assuming a part. This is in no way a typical movie–in fact it is not typical anything. It is grainy and not glossy with hardcore sex and very strange special effects which makes for a very eerie viewing experience—but one that should not be missed. “Ballroom” is a very unusual meditation on art and the power of the imagination mated with techniques used in old horror films. I personally loved it.

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