I stumbled on Le p-tit bal the other day while searching for new, as yet unseen (by me) dance media, and was surprised to learn that this sweet little fantasy film is – as per IMDb – from way back in 1995. Written, directed, choreographed, and starring Philippe Decouflé with help from Pascale Houbin and Annie Lacou and a song composed by Robert Nyel and Gaby Verlor, Le p’tit bal is a fun and very well done little romp of a dance short. It reminds me of a cross between Charlie Moulton’s (even older) Nine Person Precision Ball Passing because of its sense of exactitude and extreme frontal quality, and the hysterical and fantastic 1991 French feature comedy Delicatessen.
I cannot comment on the meaning, but I love the color, angles, choice of location, camera moves, simple production design, and sheer absurdity of this short, and especially the fact that it is all communicated via a combination of dance and what seems to be some form of or allusion to sign language. With both style and film/video/digital quality changing every ten minutes, and because we become so inundated with new information that can change our aesthetic sensibilities, a lot of older media doesn’t always hold up as well as I feel this does. I hope you enjoy.