Part history, part love letter, Ballets Russes may be the most purely delightful documentary in years. The movie follows the birth of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the early 1930s, an event that eventually led--after years of exhilarating experiments, bitter artistic battles, and exhausting tours--to the establishment of modern ballet around the world. Ballet Russes combines astonishing film footage of fantastical ballets (featuring extravagant sets designed by Salvador Dali and costumes by Henri Matisse) and interviews with surviving dancers in their 70s, 80s, and 90s (ranging from Dame Alicia Markova, who was a prima ballerina with the original Ballet Russe under impresario Sergei Diaghilev, to Yvonne Craig, who went on to become Batgirl in the '60s tv show Batman); the result is a breathtaking range of scholarship and depth of feeling. The heart of the film is the dancers themselves, who are sly, thoughtful, gossipy, and amazingly youthful in spirit--even the most difficult times are discussed with humor and honesty. Ballet fans will find this an essential document, while anyone who's never even thought of going to ballet will be completely caught up in these dancers' passion and wonder. A beautiful, entrancing movie.