A Parisian dance hall as it changes over the decades. People meet here every Saturday afternoon to have fun and forget the daily grind for an hour or two. The outside world, however, refuses to be left beyond the entrance and forcefully pushes its way inside. The years of the Popular Front, World War II and the German occupation, the 1950s with their confrontations and condemnations, the 1968 uprising of students and intellectuals: every era leaves its traces on the dance hall. And yet the people in the film do not speak a word, the couples glide across the parquet losing themselves in the musette waltz or the tango, dancing the samba, rumba or rock’n’roll and even, in the end, finding a liking for disco.
Born in 1931, Ettore Scola won a Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 1984 for Le Bal in which she successfully created a light-footed, episodic film without dialogue, filled with a wealth of subtle observations and details. An equally comedic and melancholy account of the interplay between politics and the individual, big historical events and ‘small’ personal fates. The Berlinale is screening the film in honour of Ettore Scola who died on 19 January 2016 in Rome.