Available Quality: DivX, Hi Def
Director(s): Bess Kargman
IMDB Rating: 5.4
First Position follows six talented young dancers (ages 9-19) from five continents as they prepare for a worldwide ballet competition that could transform their lives overnight.
|First Position (Hi Def)||Resolution: 1920x1080 px||Total Size: 3854 Mb|
|First Position (DivX)||Resolution: 624x352 px||Total Size: 700 Mb|
gregking4 (18 May 2013)
Tutus, tears and triumphs? First Position is a very enjoyable andinspiring documentary about the annual Youth America Grand Prix, one ofthe most prestigious dance competitions in the world. Thousands ofhopefuls try out for prizes including contracts with leading balletcompanies and scholarships to some of the top ballet schools in theworld. It is a very competitive environment, as the judges are lookingfor the right combination of body, training, personality, passion,technique and future potential. Former ballerina and first timefilmmaker Bess Kargman follows six young hopefuls through thecompetition, and we gain some insight into their dedication, the longhours spent training, rehearsing and perfecting their techniques, aswell as their aspirations and sacrifices. There is also inevitably somedisappointments along the way. First Position is a warm and upbeatexamination of talented kids striving for their big break and copingwith enormous pressure of competition. Eleven-year-old Aran comes froma military family based in Italy and is determined to succeed. Michaelawas born in Sierra Leone during the bloody civil war, and was adoptedby a white American family who support her dreams. Joan Sebastianpursues dance as a way of escaping the poverty and lack ofopportunities back home in his native Columbia. Sakoto is the mother ofboth Jules and Miko, and is obsessed with having her children succeed.A telling moment comes when Jules admits that he doesn't particularlylike ballet but is only doing it to please his mother. Kargman balancesthe individual journeys beautifully, and suffuses the film with anelement of suspense as it leads up to the make or break Grand Final inNew York. This is an emotionally engaging documentary that explores anumber of touching human stories with compassion and unrestrained joy.Fans of classical dance will certainly enjoy First Position. But it hasenough to appeal to the casual viewer as well.
planktonrules (18 May 2013)
"First Position" is an incredibly interesting documentary. I say thisbecause I hate ballet...yet I found myself seriously drawn into thelives of these kids. It must be good if it could win me over, that'sfor sure.This film is about a group of kids who are trying to make it in balletfield. They range in age from 8 to 17 and are from variouscountries--including the US, Columbia and Israel. And, through thecourse of the film, you see them in various internationalcompetitions--trying to win awards, scholarships and, perhaps, jobs.While none of this on the surface sounds that interesting, the film hasseveral things going for it. First, many of the kids are incrediblylikable and are amazing to watch. The most amazing of these is theinsanely talented 11 year-old boy who is just gorgeous to watch as hedances (it looked so easy and his joy as he danced was infectious).Second, a few of the stories pulled me in and got me excited--such asthe girl originally from Sierra Leone and the SUPER-annoying mother whopushed her boy to dance even though he clearly was not interested.Third, the film lacks narration and just lets the folks talk--and mostof the best documentaries do this. Fourth, and this one surprised me, Ifound myself REALLY, REALLY caring about the kids. As the finalcompetition progressed, I was on the edge of my seat. Well worthseeing.
aharmas (18 May 2013)
In "Purple of Rose of Cairo", the heroine frequently visits the theatreto escape reality and live vicariously through the lives of thefantastic characters in the silver screen. In this modern-dayinspirational tale, one can experience the road to dreams coming truefor some of the people in the spotlight in this crowd pleaser. Balletmight not be everyone's favorite entertainment, but it sure ignites thepassion of the children in the competitions, and it truly shines in thehands of very talented filmmakers.There is a lot to enjoy in this documentary that follows six childrenas they try to pursue their dreams to become professional balletdancers. It's a rough road, where much will be sacrificed, and even theenduring support of parents and coaches might not feel that supportive.One can see how parents and coaches are trying to relive their owndreams, and a few times we wonder if what they are trying to sell us isreally the real thing. Then we see their students dance, and magicexplodes in the screen.There is plenty of underdog to cheer here. Every one of the chosensubjects is a very special individual, with origins as different aswar-ravaged countries to obsessive parents... and there is not a dullmoment in the 90 minutes that made it to the screen. There is certainlyplenty of beauty here as human beings practice routines to shine withinfive very competitive minutes they are given in world famouscompetitions. It is easy to say one can hardly be disappointed as eachperformer gives their best.I can't recommend this enough: It's a heartwarming and quite charmingwork of art.
John DeSando (17 May 2013)
First Position takes a front row in my line up of competitiondocumentaries. It's exceptional because it doesn't overdo its reverencefor ballet, nor does it play on a natural sympathy for youngcompetitors from 9 through 19 years old. It would be easy to fawn overyoungsters who have only two and a half minutes to persuade judges thatthey are the best among hundreds of ambitious artists.It keeps the tension of the race to the finals of the Youth AmericaGrand Prix while it invests just the right amount of time with sixselected dancers, some of whom fortuitously go to the finals and win,if not the gold , then full scholarships to dance academies, not a badsubstitute at all. The camera follows, as is tradition, the endless practices with thedemanding coaches, but this time both principals and teachers seem toenjoy the process as much as the awards. There's respectful, low keycamaraderie among all the competitors, coaches, and parents that isunusual for these contests and documentaries about them.The range of contestants is the believable, not hyped part I liked somuch. While cheerful ten year old Jules Fogarty clearly isn't intodance or the competition, sixteen-year old Joan Sebastian Zamora willearn a top spot at the Grand Prix finals in New York because he caresjust enough. Such is the way ambition should work out in the best ofall possible worlds.Best of all the dancers, for me, is 11 year old Aran Bell, whoseambition is matched by his awesome talent with a litheness only adancer years older could have. Michaela, originally from Sierra Leone,is the most surprising talent, given the horrors she has seen and thephysical challenges she must overcome.Director Bess Kargman, following six contestants for over a year, doessimple magic with director of photography Nick Higgins, sometimesforsaking the competition footage for the more intimately personal,with arguably limited results when the winners are announced as we wantto agree with the decisions. More time on stage might have enlisted ourcooperation.A case could be made for the superiority of the ballroom dance Mad HotBallroom, poetry team Louder Than a Bomb, horse racing's First Saturdayin May, or spelling bee Spellbound because they concentrate on theintensity of the actual competition and open up criticism of thecontest itself. No such negativity appears here, a weakness for thosewho would like the reality of disappointment and hurt to extend beyondMichaela's sore foot.But for me, it's nice to be relaxed as we hope these young competitorsstill are.
foleymichael60 (16 May 2013)
This documentary takes a little time to pull you in but it succeedsnicely. A little patience is required but it is worth it !I like most people expected to be bored senseless with this but insteadI now appreciate classical dance much more.This is because director Bess Kargman pays attention to the sufferingshard work and devotion and lets not forget beauty of what these youngpeople go through and what they do.She lets us see the toll ballet takes on these kids emotions and feet.Yes I said feet. Bruised bloody feet. And all the emotional strain aswell.Watch for the African girl who dances with a bad ankle and it is justnormal for every one around her and nobody tries to dissuade her!I could empathize and feel the dramatic as the competition nears andjudgement is made in the various categories.I gave this documentary 8 stars. But it might as well be 10 because itdid hold my attention about a subject I had no interest in whatsoever.I didn't want to see it. For shame. I am glad I spent the money on thisfilm.I was going to see an other film for the second time because theEmbassy in Waltham has $6.00 Tuesdays. When there's a new film showing? What a waste!
blanche-2 (16 May 2013)
Producer/Director Beth Kargman has put together a wonderful documentarythat follows six young ballet dancers to the Youth America Grand Prix,one of the most important of all ballet competitions worldwide.The prizes at the competition include awards of recognition,scholarships, and work with major dance companies. The dancers are inseveral age ranges and ethnicities and include 11-year-old Aaron Bell,Joan Sebastian Zamora, a dancer from Colombia, Michaela Deprince,ablack dancer, Jules and Miko Fogarty, of mixed ethnicity, prettyIsraeli Gaya Bommer, and all-American girl Rebecca Houseknecht.Michaela and her sister were adopted from Sierra Leone, where there wasnothing but death and poverty. Michaela has been told that blacks makeunsuitable ballet dancers -- bad feet, too muscular, wrong build etc.For the competition, her teacher has her dance against type, doing afeminine, delicate dance.Zamora lives in New York, far away from his family, but his fathertells him there is nothing for him in Colombia and he has to go afterhis dream. Rebecca is a cheerleader and normal kid whose passion isdance, and Aaron doesn't tell other kids he's a dancer. All of themhave great talent, as we can see from their dance routines at the GrandPrix. Zamora has stardom written all over him. Jules has decided hereally doesn't like ballet, which hurts his mother, but she accepts it.A very inspiring documentary about youngsters from differentbackgrounds and social status with the dream of dancing in the ballet,and the sacrifices they have made to achieve their goal. The dancing isheavenly; I only wish there had been more of it.Good luck to all these kids. I'm sure we'll be hearing about most ofthem as time goes on.
VillageVoiceNY (12 May 2013)
The nonfiction formula pioneered by Spellbound leads to frustratingsuperficiality in First Position, a glossy documentary about amulticultural collection of young ballet dancers striving to secureawards, scholarships, and job contracts at the prestigious annual YouthAmerica Grand Prix. Director Bess Kargman adheres to a now-familiartemplate in which glib portraits of various talented kids from aroundthe world provide human-interest background for the centralcompetition, which in this instance is a vital gateway to an adultartistic career. From adopted Sierra Leone orphan...Read the full review here: http://www.villagevoice.com/movies/
Larry Silverstein (12 May 2013)
Produced and directed by Bess Kargman, this is a fascinating andriveting documentary.Each year, the world's largest ballet competition is held, for youngdancers ages 9-19, called the Youth America Grand Prix. In 15 citiesaround the world five thousand young dancers compete in the semi-finalsfor 300 slots in the finals in New York City. They will get five minutes on stage, judged by directors and toppersonnel from some of the world's most prodigious ballet companies, totry and win scholarships or job contracts for their future careers.As many of these documentaries are presented, seven hopefuls, with verydiverse backgrounds, are followed in their preparations, training andpersonal lives. I found all of the competitors to be extremelyinteresting and it was hard to pick a favorite.You couldn't ask more from a documentary with vivid portrayals of theyoung dancers and their families, as well as the suspense of thecompetition itself.
candydancer18 (05 May 2013)
This is a great movie! This movie isn't for all people, mind you. It'sonly for ballet dancers, people who want to become professionaldancers, parents of ballet dancers, ballet teachers, and peopleinterested in the concept of ballet.This shows all the hardships of ballet, particularly on how the YAGPgoes down.This is tremendous movie and I really suggest going and seeing it! Ihave been waiting for a year for this movie to come out in theatres! Inthe USA, it comes out MAY/JUNE/JULY and in Canada, it comes out inJULY.
Red-125 (04 May 2013)
First Position (2011), directed by Bess Kargman, is an excellent filmabout young ballet dancers. For reasons I can't understand, as I writethis review, the movie carries an IMDb rating of a dismal 6.2. How canthat be? Did the viewers who rated it "1" see the same film I saw?The movie follows seven young ballet dancers as they prepare for, andthen compete in, the prestigious Grand Prix competition. As pointed outin the movie, many physical activities in which people participateinvolve natural movements for which the human body is well suited. Catching a baseball, swimming, or climbing a rope are not easy, but ourspecies has the natural physical capabilities to do these things.Ballet dancing, especially en pointe ballet dancing, is not a naturalactivity for us. We simply are not constructed to (literally) walk onthe tips of our toes. The feet have to be trained and remodeled toallow this activity to take place. And, of course, not only do balletdancers dance on their toes, but when they are doing this they aresupposed to make their movements elegant, graceful, and apparentlyeffortless. Although male ballet dancers don't dance en pointe, their movements arealso extraordinarily difficult. One young male dancer shows us his"foot stretcher," and tells us, "It hurts a lot."So, serious ballet dancing requires physical traits that areextraordinary, dedication so that ballet becomes central to your life,and the capability to absorb physical pain that would be "cruel andunusual punishment" if it weren't voluntary.Director Kargman has put together a documentary that takes us insidethe lives of these young dancers. We meet their coaches, theirfamilies, and their judges. Also, of course, we go to the Grand Prixwith the dancers, and we learn whether they succeed or fail.I thought the movie was honest, creative, and balanced. These youngpeople are not "regular kids who happen to take ballet." They arededicated, passionate, and fanatically determined to succeed. FirstPosition brings us into the world of ballet training, and allows us tomake our own decisions about the wisdom of encouraging your child todance and compete at this level. It's a great film. Why does it havesuch a low rating?
TxMike (03 May 2013)
As the credits roll there is a sentence thanking everyone for havingfaith in a "first time filmmaker." And she did a fine job indeed. Overthe past few years I have seen several documentaries featuringschool-age kids, one preparing for a high school jazz competition,another for scholarships to cooking schools, plus a few others. Whatalways strikes me is how dedicated these kids are, the antithesis oflost kids roaming the streets, looking to get into mischief.The subject of is film is the 2010 world-wide competition to identifyfuture ballet stars. A few thousand kids compete at semi-final sitesaround the world, and about the 200 best converge on New York for thefinals, where some will get scholarships and some will get hired into aballet company.Interestingly the IMDb credits don't mention perhaps the best dancerfeatured, a boy of 11 named Aran. His parents are US military and whenhe competed they were stationed in Italy.For me the most inspiring story was of Michaela Deprince, who as ayoung girl in war-torn Sierra Leone witnessed her parents killed duringtheir civil war in the 1990s. She and another girl were adopted by anAmerican couple and grew up with a normal life, and now she is anaccomplished and successful ballet dancer. The other that I found greatly interesting is Joan (pronounced'JOE-nn') Sebastian Zamora, a 16-yr-old boy from Columbia. He seemedmature way beyond his age and is dedicated to his dancing. He was asuperb dancer at 16, and was hired by England's Royal Ballet.Overall a fine documentary with just the right emphasis on the semisand the finals, and just the right parceling of time among the featuredcontestants. Even if a person is not a particular fan of ballet (likeme) it is enjoyable for the story being told. We hear too much news ofkids getting into trouble, we don't hear enough of the good kids whoare dedicated and work hard for what they want.
Michael Coy (02 May 2013)
If you are between the ages of 9 and 19, and you are a dedicated (andhugely talented) ballet dancer, then the Youth America Grand Prix is adance competition you'll know all about. And dream about. It doesn'tmatter where you're from (some of the "stars" of this documentary comefrom Africa and Latin America): given colossal natural ability,extremely hard work and the right guidance, you, too, can try for theglittering prize. Bess Kargman's excellent film follows seven kids asthey prepare for, and participate in, this intense contest.What a joy to get to review something that isn't brain-dead! Ballet isvery difficult to do, very beautiful to watch, and requiresintelligence and artistic flair (rather like a good documentary,really), and Bess Kargman has made a ballet film which is not onlypicking up awards faster than Halle Berry gathers motoring citations,but "First Position" has achieved the nigh-impossible for a work ofnon-fiction, and is going on general theatrical release. It will hitthe screens on Friday, May 4.The premise is a simple and compelling one. Youngsters from all overthe world strive to qualify for the Grand Prix finals, held in New YorkCity. When the very best gather for the dance-off, the pressure is justabout unbearable. Each contestant will have five minutes on stage. Ifyou're sick, or overcome by nerves, or if you stumble during yourroutine Â too bad. All those years you worked for this, all thosethings you sacrificed in order to get here, are riding on the nextthree hundred seconds. Five thousand dancers enter each year, with thisnumber being whittled down to a couple of hundred for the New Yorkfinals. From this small group, the winners will emerge. Kargman knowshow to build suspense Â but the who-won-it is only one element in thisexcellent film. We get to see the physical pain these kids go through(check out the "foot-stretcher" used by little Aran, which looks like amedieval torture implement), we hear from their parents and danceteachers Â but, most of all, there is the beautiful ballet itself.Like any documentary worth its salt, "First Position" asks as manyquestions as it answers. Thought-provoking contributions abound, likethat from the teacher who states openly, "Kids who are pursuing balletas a career give up their childhood." Can such a sacrifice bejustified? Who gets to make the choice? Which is worse Â to push smallchildren through the grueling practice schedules, or not to push them Âthereby passing up the chance for success? Is it fair to exposeyoungsters to the appalling pressure of the final round? This is a filmwhich stays with the viewer long after the final credits have rolled.One of the things you need to be good at, when you shoot a documentary,is judging what not to do or say. In this, Kargman has triumphed. Sheis never obtrusive, and she lets the images (and the kids) tell thestory. Critic Dave Robson, reviewing the film for the TorontoInternational Film Festival (where, incidentally, it won considerableacclaim) puts it like this: "Though she casts a wide net, Kargman iscareful to include only the most essential commentary. She frequentlycomplements her cast's words with beautiful shots of dancing andjuxtaposes them with more candid and vulnerable moments. It is perhapstrite to say that a film about an aesthetic discipline looks beautiful,but "First Position" does. It certainly helps that dancers are welllit, but more to the point, Kargman keeps her cinematography simple. Tobe too clever would distract from the dancing." In case anyone readingthis is under the misapprehension that it's just a bunch of well-heeledpreppy youngsters indulging in a glorified hobby, it is worthmentioning Michaela Deprince. This young finalist hails from SierraLeone, where she witnessed her parents getting murdered. "It's amiracle I'm even here," she says Â and she bears the scars to prove it.Indeed, overall, this is a singularly resilient bunch of kids. Afterall they have been through, it is surprising Â not to mentionheart-warming Â to see how balanced, articulate and likable they allare. Take, for example, the tiny 12-year-old Miko Fogarty, whofrequently has to field comments from others, to the effect that shehas missed out on her childhood. She doesn't happen to agree.This is Bess Kargman's breakthrough movie, and much credit shedeserves. She directed the project and also took a major hand in theediting. Her director of photography, Nick Higgins, has done a lot ofdocumentary work in his career Â but surely nothing as visuallycaptivating as this.By the way, for those of you who, like me, have a penchant for movietitles which contain more than one level of meaning, "First Position"refers of course to winning the Grand Prix, and therefore beingguaranteed a prestigious professional contract Â but it is also aballet term, denoting the preliminary posture Â standing with heelstogether, toes splayed outwards. The things you learn on IMDb, huh?
Review total: 12, showing from 1 to 12