After Les Pépites, this director selected at Cannes invites you on a new journey

After Les Pépites and his diptych on post-war reconstruction (9 days in Raqqa and In all Freedom), Xavier de Lauzanne is back with a new feature film. Travel through the History of Cambodia with The Beauty of the Gesture, in the cinema.

Unforgettable journey, duty of memory

In 1899, the Lumière brothers sent their operator Gabriel Veyre to shoot images in the French colonial empire. In Cambodia, he films the Royal Ballet.

It is with these few words of context that La Beauté du geste opens, and at the same time, the journey of its spectators which will take them through space and time to discover the Royal Cambodian Ballet.

A tradition whose history and practice still seem quite distant to Western populations today. However, as the introduction to the feature film cleverly reminds us, Cambodia remained under the protection of the French state for almost a century, therefore doubling the historical and artistic interest of this documentary.

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Filmed with a delicacy equaling that of the Royal Cambodian Ballet, the movements of the dancers as well as the archival elements, preparatory sketches colored with watercolors or century-old fabrics, are revealed before the amazed eyes of the spectators like so many exotic treasures. However, the influence of this ancestral art on Western culture is undeniable and brings it back to a reality much closer to us than it seems.

Invited in 1906 to discover a performance of the Royal Ballet, Auguste Rodin himself marveled at what would mark his work forever. “[Ces danseuses] taught me movements that I had never encountered anywhere, the sculptor wrote then, neither in statuary nor in nature.

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These elegant movements, these precise and yet so delicate gestures, are filmed with just as much finesse by the discreet camera of Xavier de Lauzanne, the director. Its lens invites itself and takes you during rehearsals, behind the scenes, and of course on stage to witness the secrets of the art of Cambodian ballet, as sublime as it is eminently political.

The remarkable return of a clairvoyant filmmaker

Once again, the filmmaker Xavier de Lauzanne becomes guardian of memory to preserve the images of this ancestral art whose techniques are sometimes lost throughout History.

After Les Pépites, rated 4.6 stars out of 5 by a won over AlloCiné community, 9 days in Raqqa, selected at the Cannes Film Festival, and In all Freedom released last year, the director marks his comeback with a new feature film where visual wonder goes hand in hand with a necessary duty of instruction and memory.

Copyright Aloest Productions

If The nuggets had aroused the curiosity of no less than 200,000 spectators (a memorable performance for a documentary), The Beauty of the gesture will certainly not fail to find its audience.

A marvel of poetry and history, to be discovered now in the cinema.

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