THURSDAY JUNE 7 - 9pm / 9:30NT
Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll - the life of rock star and icon Elton John is brought to spectacular life through the magic of choreography and dance. Love Lies Bleeding is an extraordinary hour-long television special celebrating the life and music of Elton John. Created by Jean Grand Maître for the Alberta Ballet, this wild and brilliant television adaptation explores the victories, trials and sacrifices of a unique musical phenomenon whose intensity, melancholia and sheer force of will influenced the world of music and inspired compassion and joy in millions of people, as seen through the eyes of an adoring fan. With illuminating introductions into the performances offered by renowned CBC broadcaster, writer and musician, Jian Ghomeshi, the film provides a rare insight into the trials and triumphs of one of the world's most outspoken, engaging and influential musical icons - all seen through the beauty and majesty of ballet.
I was thrilled when the producers, White Iron Pictures, asked me to direct the TV presentation of "Love Lies Bleeding". I had long admired the work of the choreographer, Jean Grand Maître, and the challenge of bringing together popular music and contemporary ballet was something that I had long cherished. However, in directing the film for TV, I knew that I did not want to shoot the ballet in a documentary style where the dance is captured from the stage. Instead, I wanted to place the work within a more filmic world that would heighten the drama while yet respecting the theatrical foundation of the piece. In this regard, the film makes extensive use tracking and craning cameras that not only capture the flow and excitement of the choreography but also allows the audience a vantage point not possible from a theatre seat. Moreover, judicious use of editing was also made to reveal the hidden thoughts and feelings of the main character by cutting to the objects of his fascination or desire. In many ways, the film attempts to use as many of the elements of filmmaking in capturing the dramatic nuances for television. The experience in making the program was intense but completely thrilling throughout, particularly as I was working with a great creative team and the extraordinary dancers of the Alberta Ballet. I am also indebted to the brilliant Jean Grand Maître who allowed me not only a great deal of creative freedom but collaborated with me throughout the shooting in shortening, revising or creating new movement when a situation called for them. I can only hope that the audience will feel most of the thrill I had in making this unforgettable project.