Serge Peretti, le dernier Italien
They call him “master” and it is also with great deference that Dominique Delouche films Serge Peretti, a commanding figure of the Opéra de Paris since the 1930s. Up to his death in 1997, he was committed to handing down his art both to the petits rats, the corps de ballet and to the Etoiles of the Opéra.
Dominique Delouche builds his portrait, letting us hear at length the words of Serge Peretti but those also of the people who knew him: Yvette Chauviré, Claude Bessy, Cyril Atanassoff. Archive films and photographs illustrate the career of an exceptional dancer known as “the small Vestris” and whose style was unanimously celebrated. Aged, his voice hoarse, we also see him making Nicolas Le Riche and Jean-Yves Lormeau work: in his memory, every gesture and every dramatic intention has remained engraved with staggering accuracy. Likewise, he remembers how, during the Occupation, Lifar negotiated with the Kommandantur to prevent him from going to fight in Italy against France, his adoptive country, by pointing out to the Germans that it would be more worth their while to see him dance!
Source : Fabienne Arvers
After studying at the Paris Opera Ballet School, he joined its Ballet in 1920. He became the Premier Danseur in 1930 and was the first man to be nominated Danseur Étoile in 1941. He became a ballet master in 1945 and left the Opera in 1946. He opened his own dance school in 1948, then returned to the Opera as teacher for the Danseur Étoile class between 1962 and 1970.
An exquisite dancer, the greatest of his time, he impressed through the elegance and purity of his dance, with its sure and precise technique. He imagined countless roles and adapted with pleasure to the style of choreographers ranging from M. Fokine to B. Nijinska and, in particular, S. Lifar, with whom he produced numerous ballets.
Two months before he passed away, the director Dominique Delouche dedicated a film to him entitled Serge Peretti, le dernier Italien (Serge Peretti, the Last Italian).
Source : Germaine Prudhommeau, Dictionnaire de la danse (dir. Philippe Le Moal), Larousse, 1999
After Beaux-Arts (Fine Art School) studies and musical classes (piano and classical singing), Dominique Delouche met Federico Fellini and became his assistant ("Nights of Cabiria"). In 1960, he directed his first film « Le Spectre de la Danse ». Until 1985, he produced and directed short films, like « Aurore » et « La dame de Monte Carlo ». In 1968, he staged Danielle Darieux in “Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman", a Stefan Sweig novel 's adaptation selected for the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, and the musical theatre “Divine” (1975). He filmed other features like « Une étoile pour l’exemple » (1988), « L’homme de désir » (1970). He produced and filmed the opera “La voix humaine” (The Human Voice) for French television (text by Cocteau and music by Poulenc; directed by Georges Prêtre), with the soprano Denise Duval. His last film is "Balanchine in Paris" (2011). He also directed, created decors and costumes for the Opéra de Paris and for the Festival of Aix en Provence: “Werther”, “Le Roi malgré lui” (The Reluctant King) (1978), “Didon et Énée” (Dido and Æneas) (1972).
Source: Dominique Delouche's website
Serge Peretti, le dernier Italien
Production / Coproduction of the video work
les films du Prieuré / Participation CNC, ministère de la culture (DMD), cinémathèque de la danse