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The Company (2003)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music, Romance | 20 May 2004 (Germany)
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Ensemble drama centered around a group of ballet dancers, with a focus on one young dancer who's poised to become a principal performer.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Neve Campbell (story), Barbara Turner (story) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Neve Campbell ... Loretta 'Ry' Ryan
Malcolm McDowell ... Alberto Antonelli
James Franco ... Josh
Barbara E. Robertson ... Harriet (as Barbara Robertson)
William Dick ... Edouard
Susie Cusack ... Susie
Marilyn Dodds Frank Marilyn Dodds Frank ... Mrs. Ryan
John Lordan John Lordan ... Mr. Ryan
Mariann Mayberry ... Stepmother
Roderick Peeples ... Stepfather
Yasen Peyankov ... Justin's Mentor
Davis C. Robertson Davis C. Robertson ... Alec - Joffrey Dancer (as Davis Robertson)
Deborah Dawn Deborah Dawn ... Deborah - Joffrey Dancer
John Gluckman John Gluckman ... John - Joffrey Dancer
David Gombert David Gombert ... Justin - Joffrey Dancer
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Storyline

An inside look at the world of ballet. With the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Altman follows the stories of the dancers, whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close, as they cope with the demands of a life in the ballet. Campbell plays a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer at a fictional Chicago troupe, with McDowell the company's co-founder and artistic director, considered one of America's most exciting choreographers. Franco plays Campbell's boyfriend and one of the few characters not involved in the world of dance. Written by Andrea Barney <andrea808@hotmail..com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, some nudity and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 2004 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Company See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,776, 28 December 2003

Gross USA:

$2,283,914

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,415,017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Malcolm McDowell character, Alberto Antonelli, is heavily based on The Robert Joffrey Ballet's longtime artistic director, Gerald ("Jerry") Arpino. Like Arpino, Antonelli is an Italian American former dancer who has gone on to run a prominent Chicago dance company (the chastising speech that Antonelli gives to an Italian-American audience while receiving an award was taken nearly verbatim from an awards speech of Arpino's). Many of Antonelli's turns of phrase in the script were taken from Arpino's speech patterns, as was his habit of watching rehearsals while sitting backwards in a white, open-backed chair that was reserved only for him. See more »

Goofs

At about 1h 45m into the film, during the curtain call, those dancers were standing at different positions from different angles. Watch for the two men who were wearing blue and red bodysuits, they were standing at different places. See more »

Quotes

Alberto Antonelli: Hit the wall! I want you to move!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the closing credits begin rolling, the dancers continue to take their final bows, and the audience continues to applaud. See more »

Connections

Referenced in O Lucky Malcolm! (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

My Funny Valentine
Music by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Arranged by Marvin Laird
used by arrangement with Williamson Music and Chappell & Co.
Performed by Marvin Laird and Clay Ruede
See more »

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User Reviews

So Everything's Not So Beautiful at the Ballet After All
18 January 2004 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"The Company" is a lovely commercial for the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago (for New Yorkers this is in fact the same modern ballet company that used to be based at City Center but left the competitive dance fund raising environment here to have the stage to itself in Chicago).

A labor of love for producer/story writer/star/former dancer Neve Campbell, she was determined to make the first film about a whole company, not just using the dance world for a backdrop of individual melodrama, and with long passages of actual performances. So she brought in the primo director of ensembles, Robert Altman. But clearly she made compromises to get the film made that put his creativity as a director in a straight jacket and only lets his trademark talents fleetingly shine through.

The key was getting the Joffrey's cooperation and I can only imagine the tough negotiations that resulted in this pretty much being a whitewash of the ballet world, or of any creative endeavor, in sharp contrast to the behind-the-scenes reality shows "Project Greenlight" on HBO or "The Fire Within" about Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai" that was on Bravo. I surmise a long list of thou shalt not's that appear to include items such as:

-- no views of the non-artistic administrators, board, or fund raisers (there's a passing exhortation to a flashy choreographer Robet Desrosiers to stay within the budget, but he gets the complicated costumes and sets he wants anyway);

-- no homosexual relationships (there's a passing reference to the dancers AIDS has taken including "Bob", which cognoscenti have to know refers to the company's founder Robert Jeffrey, and Malcolm McDowall as the egotistical artistic director "Alberto Antonelli," a stand-in presumably for current company director Gerald Arpino, urges fellow Italian-American men not to make their boys, like he had to, "hide their ballet shoes");

-- no eating disorders (we do twice hear "Mr. A," half-jokingly, urge the company to eat salads and vegetables and there's one fast, quiet exchange in passing that I think was about diet pills);

-- blame dancers' problems on dysfunctional parents and mentors, recalling that vivid song from "A Chorus Line" - "Everything was beautiful at the ballet" as dancers seek to escape messy situations through temporary perfect beauty.

Altman does get to assert his artistic priorities in a few ways. He effectively seizes on the ageism in dance, showing that it's not just the tyranny of aging bodies, as would affect any athlete, but that dancers with experience speak up for themselves and are more difficult to control in a viciously autocratic environment than ambitious, financially desperate, and, literally, pliable young dancers.

It's also the first time I've seen a camera expose the swarm of acolyte assistants to the director, revealing them as ex-dancers whom "Mr. A" still dismissively calls "babies" and who resent the new stars even as they dance vicariously through them.

The other beautiful Altman touch is when the significant character developments take place not center stage in a crowd but through a look or line happening way in the corner of the screen, like the expression on James Franco, as Cambell's chef beau, when she avoids introducing him to her family amidst a rush of congratulators.

But visually and musically the Joffrey is a wonderful choice, as the choreographers represented range from Arpino to Alwin Nikolais to Laura Dean and MOMIX. A centerpiece danced by Campbell is a sexy Lar Lubovitch pas de deux to the signature song "My Funny Valentine" which is used as a leitmotif, for reasons that still seem murky to me after hearing Altman explain why on "Charlie Rose," throughout the film in versions also by Elvis Costello, Chet Baker, and the Kronos Quartet. The music ranges from classical to jazz to the ethereal pop of Julee Cruise, Mark O'Connor's in-between "Appalachia Waltz", and the lovely score by Van Dyke Parks.


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