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USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Pathe Distribution
Cast: Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, James Franco, Barbara Robertson, William Dick, Susie Cusack, Marilyn Dodds Frank, John Lordan, Mariann Mayberry, Roderick Peeples, Yasen Peyankov, Davis Robertson, Deborah Dawn, John Gluckman, David Gombert, Suzane L Prisco, Domingo Rubio, Emily Patterson, Maia Wilkins, Sam Franke, Trinity Hamilton, Julianne Kepley, Valerie Robin, Deanne Brown, Michael Smith, Matthew Roy Prescott
Director: Robert Altman
Countries: USA / Germany
UK: 112 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, some nudity and sexual content. Previously rated: R in 2003
UK Certificate: 12A contains one use of strong language, moderate sex and drug references
USA Release Date: 25 December 2003 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 7 May 2004
Robert Altman follows up the stunning success of the Academy Award winning GOSFORD PARK with THE COMPANY, a look at the world of ballet as only Altman could envision it.
With THE COMPANY, Altman's vision for the film is an extremely intimate one: we will see the difficult daily work, the enormous pressures of performance, the richly textured behaviors of the dancers - whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close - and of course the sheer beauty of the dances: exhilarating, kinetic, and thrillingly observed.
Neve Campbell stars as a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer. Campbell, an accomplished dancer, studied with the National Ballet of Canada prior to becoming an actress. In THE COMPANY Campbell is joined by the world-famous Joffrey Ballet of Chicago who constitute the core of Altman's ensemble.
THE COMPANY is a love letter to artists who work in this singularly difficult and universally expressive medium and is released on the 7th of May 2004 by Pathe Distribution.
Dancers do the impossible. And yet we all want to be them. They are that beautiful, that vulnerable, and that expressive. They are the essence of what we mean by ethereal.
Their lives, of course, are the same messy stew that we all experience, complete with the complications of families, lovers, friendships, and work.
I want THE COMPANY to show this world with all of its contradictions. Here are world-class artists who, for the most part, are poorly paid and live hand to mouth; often in very unglamorous conditions. They take immaculate care of their bodies while smoking countless cigarettes, downing endless cups of coffee and working punishing hours. Their daily reality includes bloody feet, bludgeoned ambitions, and the work itself - in all of its demanding beauty.
What thrilled me most about making this film was simply being allowed into this particular tribe of artists, dreamers and human beings. On a daily basis, and in the most impossible and dramatic terms, dancers face what we all face: biological clocks and the force of gravity telling us NO. Yet for some part of their working lives dancers literally prevail over those forces. The fact that they (like the rest of us) will all ultimately be trumped by time doesn't diminish or compromise their efforts. It only enriches them...and us.
I am privileged to have been allowed into the world of the dancers of the Joffrey Ballet and privileged to have the opportunity of sharing it in this film.
- Robert Altman