THE BALLET OF SERVICE
  • THE BALLET OF SERVICE

    NETHERLANDS 15 MIN, 2020

    RUSSIAN PREMIERE

    • ABOUT

      At the International Butler Academy in Limburg, people from all over the world are trained to become a butler for the elite. Under a lot of pressure, they learn the old ways of butlering. An observational and absurdist documentary that gives us a glimpse of the perfectionist world of the butler profession.

    • DIRECTOR

      MARLIES SMEENGE

      Started her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, as a word art student. There she discovered her fascination for seemingly normal human beings behind which lies an interesting or inspiring story. After three years, she continued her studies at the Netherlands Film Academy, where she further refined her eye for unique and striking details in daily life. Her films are characterized by their high empathic content combined with a subtle comic and light tone. Her third-year documentary Anita’s Roedel (2018) can be seen at Makers van Morgen, and is selected and nominated at festivals in the Netherlands and abroad (Go Short, Docfest Maastricht, Mecal Pro Barcelona). She graduated from the Netherlands Film Academy in 2019 with the slightly comical, observational documentary Heaven Awaits (2019), about the last three elderly nuns still alive and their dog in a Flemish monastery. Heaven Awaits won, among other things, the VERS Award for Best Film of 2019. The Ballet of Service (2020) is her latest documentary.

    • DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

      Do they still exist, butlers? Is the genuinely astonished response I get when I talk about the production in The International Butler Academy. Yes, butlers definitely still exist. Although I am curious how long this form of high luxury will last, in our highly individualized, rushed and rapidly digitizing society. The extreme altruism of the butlers seems outdated, and yet they give everything in their profession, even if it’s never good enough, they don’t have time for a private life and the capricious master of the house is always dissatisfied.

      If a viewer is wondering if what my movie is about exists at all, I know that I am is on the right track. It is precisely this amazement that is what drives me to make documentaries. In my films I offer viewers a glimpse into the lives of special people and their biotopes. I take them to places where the public normally does not come and to people they normally don’t just meet, but who are incredibly fascinating to to discover. After my feel-good documentary about dog breeders and dog shows (Anita’s Pack, 2018) and my documentary about the last three elderly nuns and their hyperactive little dog in one gigantic Flemish monastery (Heaven Awaits, 2019), felt the International Butler Academy as the perfect environment for my next slightly absurd documentary.

    • OTHER FESTIVALS

       

      • Mecal Pro Barcelona International Short & Animation FF / Spain — Best Documentary
      • Flatpack Film Festival / UK
      • Regensburg Short Film Week / Germany
      • Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival / USA
      • The Norwegian Short Film Festival / Norway
      • Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia / Japan
    • SECTION

      DOKer 2021 — Short Competition

    • SUPPORTED

      The screening is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Moscow