Amazon Studios just released their first look images of Birds of Paradise, an upcoming drama film about two dancers at an elite ballet academy. Picturesque, sensual and captivating, the images promise what has come to be expected from ballet films — melodrama, identity and sexuality questions and intrigue, all wrapped up in a coming-of-age story. Birds of Paradise was written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith, the filmmaker behind the surreal cult film Buster’s Mal Heart with Rami Malek.
She adapts Birds of Paradise from the YA novel Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small. Both works follow two dancers at an elite ballet academy in Paris, where they compete for a contract to join the highly coveted Opéra national de Paris. Kate Sanders is an ambitiously gifted dancer from Virginia, who doesn’t quite fit in due to her tomboyish nature and her low-income status. In order to attend the school, she is luckily granted a scholarship.
She quickly establishes a frenemy situation with Marine Durand, a beautiful and mysterious dancer who is coping with the loss of her brother to suicide. Their relationship grounds the film, as they must confront their competitive nature, sexual awakenings and how far they would go to win the contract.
Diana Silvers and Kristine Froseth play Kate and Marine, with the indomitable Jacqueline Bisset starring in probably a headmistress or ballet instructor role. Silvers is a young, up-and-coming actress with memorable turns in Booksmart, Netflix‘s comedy Space Force and the never ending meme generator Ma. Froseth is best known for her roles in Netflix‘s The Society and Hulu‘s Looking for Alaska as the titular character. Froseth was also recently cast as young Betty Ford in Showtime‘s anthology series The First Lady.
Shot in Budapest and teases some classic ballet garb, the film is sure to be a treat visually and feature some stunning dance numbers. It will be interesting to see how much of their own dancing Silvers and Froseth appear to do, whereas Bisset does have at least some background in ballet. She notably played a ballet instructor before in Save the Last Dance 2, the direct-to-DVD follow-up to the teen breakout film in the early 2000s.
Birds of Paradise will premiere on Amazon on September 24. Check out the first look photos below.