5.8/10
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10 user 8 critic

Ballet (1989)

Etoile (original title)
Young American ballerina enrolls in a prestigious ballet school in Hungary. She suddenly becomes inexplicably obsessed with Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and her personality completely changes. A young man in love with her investigates.

Director:

Peter Del Monte

Writers:

Peter Del Monte (story), Sandro Petraglia (story) | 3 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Jennifer Connelly ... Claire Hamilton / Natalie Horvath
Gary McCleery Gary McCleery ... Jason Forrest (as Gary Mc Cleery)
Laurent Terzieff ... Marius Balakin
Olimpia Carlisi Olimpia Carlisi ... Madam
Mario Marozzi Mario Marozzi
Donald Hodson Donald Hodson ... (as Donal Hodson)
Charles Durning ... Zio Joshua
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Storyline

Young American, Claire Hamilton, arrives in Budapest, Hungary to enroll in a prestigious local ballet school. She meets two more Americans there, young Jason Forrest and his enthusiastic old rich uncle, Zio Joshua, who's attending an art auction. After a visit from a strange woman in black and another young man, Claire becomes inexplicably obsessed with Tchaikovsky's famous ballet "Swan Lake" and her personality changes so completely that she starts calling herself Natalie and can't even remember ever meeting Jason. He becomes worried and tries investigating the mysterious man from the school who took Claire in, which puts him in mortal danger. However, nothing can prepare him for what he discovers in the bowels of an old opera house where Claire/Natalie is about to perform Tchaikovsky's spellbinding ballet.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | English

Release Date:

17 March 1989 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Ballet See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gruppo Bema, Reteitalia See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
ETOILE (Peter Del Monte, 1988) **1/2
22 January 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This has been getting a belated reputation (I admit to being totally unfamiliar with it prior to a recommendation from a Maltese friend of mine last week!) as a sort of dry-run for one of last year's most acclaimed films, BLACK SWAN. In fact, it similarly deals with a young and beautiful ballerina whose life is inextricably altered when she applies for the starring role of the famous Tchaikovsky opus "Swan Lake" (though here everything eventually works its way to a happy ending).

While it does not go into the psychological avenues taken by Darren Aronofsky's recent effort, the film nonetheless plays out like a Kafkaesque thriller – with the two protagonists (the hero is a likable fellow American who happens to stay on the same floor of her Budapest hotel) sucked in by a vortex of surreal events that literally transcends the passage of time! If anything, ETOILE also recalls Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958) in equal measures, as ageing and crippled impresario/dancer(!) Laurent Terzieff moulds leading lady Jennifer Connelly (still in her Euro-fantasy phase that had kicked off with Dario Argento's typically elaborate PHENOMENA [1984] and also comprised Jim Henson's kiddie film LABYRINTH [1986]) into a prima ballerina from a past age who had perished tragically after a performance. Interestingly, 17 year-old Connelly – though she is meant to be spell-bound and, thus, also unable to recognize the young man – slips into the intricacies of her dual role much more easily than Natalie Portman in BLACK SWAN!

A dilapidated country-house also plays a central part in the 're-enactment' – where the male lead (whose life had until then been controlled by art-collecting uncle Charles Durning, who is himself mysteriously hypnotized at one point, gets violent towards his relative and hit by a passing car!) eventually goes to meet the evil head-on just as the Tchaikovsky ballet is being played out on stage. He has to fight with a giant black swan which, when he kills, Terzieff falls dead in mid-performance elsewhere! In the end, while hardly a lost classic, this is a reasonably interesting (and stylish) effort, regardless of the BLACK SWAN connotations which will probably be attributed to it from here on in…


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