List Film

The Ballroom (4 stars)

Brazilian comic drama enlists former dance kings and ageing beauties

The Ballroom

(15) 95min


Brazilian director Lais Bodanzky’s charming but cheeky comic drama takes place over one night in an old school ballroom (or ‘gafieira’) in Sao Paulo, where the ageing locals teach a handful of young newcomers a thing or three about life, love and partner dancing. Bodanzky has assembled a cast of veteran South American actors to play the film’s ensemble of former dance kings and ageing beauties and utilised a ten-strong team of scriptwriters to come up with plotlines dealing with various aspects, good and sad, of getting old. And with much of the overlapping action shot at close quarters with handheld cameras, it’s an admirably warts and all portrait of ageing. But with its great soundtrack of Brazilian and ballroom classic, it’s also an upbeat experience. And a frequently funny one-two. ‘There are only two things that prevent a lady from being asked to dance,’ one old lothario says to a pair of elderly women. ‘Not knowing how to dance and bad breath.’ No extras.


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