Emmanuel Guionet/2016 Tribeca Film Festival
The documentary “Reset” recounts Benjamin Millepied’s brief tenure as the director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. Mr. Millepied rose to fame as a principal at the New York City Ballet, and went on to found the L.A. Dance Project and choreograph Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.” But he remained an outsider to the Paris Opera Ballet for not having risen within its ranks.
From various vignettes emerges the undercurrent of how Mr. Millepied sought to challenge a centuries-old establishment replete with ossified traditions and protocols, from its latent institutionalized racism to dancers concealing injuries to latch onto coveted roles, even at the risk of permanent harm. But this seemingly urgent and captivating dynamic plays second fiddle as the film strains for the very beauty and inspiration of its dance milieu.
“Reset” reaches its climax with Mr. Millepied’s triumphant presentation of his first production for the Paris Opera Ballet. Directors Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai reveal Mr. Millepied’s departure as a mere postscript during the end titles. For the uninitiated, the film never truly articulates just how Mr. Millepied's criticism of the company’s archaic traditions – which ultimately led to the fallout – could be perceived as arrogant, incendiary or disrespectful.