Juan Alvarez Neme
2014 | 98 minutes | Uruguay, Argentina
U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance
In 2010, Julio Bocca, one of the most revered ballet dancers of all time and a national treasure in his native Argentina, took over the Ballet Nacional Sodre of Uruguay. At the time, the company was in precipitous decline—performing in an unfinished theater, ignored internationally, and all but forgotten at home. Bocca committed himself to reviving the company and elevating it to prominence in the global cultural landscape, and his dramatic journey with the company is captured in this moving film. Art clashes with bureaucracy as the company strives for international significance and the tight-knit group of young dancers from varied backgrounds brim with hope and drama. Swirling around one of the most personally dynamic and talented artists of modern history, Avant creates a narrative tension while opening a unique and nuanced window into Uruguayan culture.
Thresholds, My Perspective
"I made Avant in pursuit of something: to discover the beauty behind work, not in an aesthetic and superficial way, but the sort of poetical beauty that defines us through what we do for living.
I spent long time trying to capture this invisible glimmer, waiting to reveal itself in a scene of daily life. During a year I was trapped by this ballet, in this gigantic building in eternal construction, breathing sweat, being hypnotized by the mechanics of the bodies. In the middle of this fairy tale was this great dancer, recently retired and trying to achieve success behind the curtain, fighting the battle with the ancient roots of bureaucracy. I tried hard to not vanish, keeping the camera close to the characters. Avant is the direct reflection of this experience." - Juan Alvarez Neme | Director, Avant