DANCING ON GLASS (Las niñas de cristal)

(director/writer: Jota Linares; screenwriter: Jorge Naranjo; cinematographer: Gris Jordana; music:Iván Palomares; cast: Maria Pedraza (Irene), Olivia Baqlivi (Ruth), Mona Montez (Norma), Marta Hazas (Pilar, Mother of Aurora), Paula Losada (Aurora), Silvia Kal (Laura), Ana Wagener (Mother of Irene), Iria Del Río (Lidi); Runtime: 137; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Mark Albela /Nacho Manubens/Toni Sevilla/Juan Sola:  Netflix; 2022-Spain-in Spanish, with English subtitles)

“The ballet performances were beautiful.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A YA ballet drama by Spanish filmmaker Jota Linares (“Unbridled”/”Who Would Take You to a Deserted Island?”). Linares directs and co-writes with Jorge Naranjo.

At Spain’s top ballet company, the National Classic Ballet, its strict, manipulative and insensitive director Norma (Mona Montez) chooses as its star ballerina Irene (Maria Pedraza), after its star Maria commits suicide by jumping off the roof, to take over her part of Giselle, in the new production. Other dancers in the company wanted the part, especially the envious and pouting Ruth Olivia Baqlivi, who believes she deserved it, and treats Irene coldly as a competitor. Also Irene’s family is not pleased with her career choice, as they wanted her to have a career that’s more stable and lasts longer.

The ballet company hires Aurora (Paula Losada) to replace Marla. She might not be attractive but is a skilled dancer with a special talent. The introverted Aurora and Irene, the two outsiders in the company, soon become close friends and form a platonic relationship, with Aurora becoming obsessed with her mentor Irene.

A complicated relationships among the dancers develops over such things as being obsessive and jealous. We’ve seen those themes played out in previous ptaised ballet dramas such as The Red Shoes and the recent Black Swan. In any case, the film adds little to what the other films did about those themes. But the ballet performances were beautiful.

REVIEWED ON 4/14/2022  GRADE:  B-