The real benefits of being a film critic are not the ones people usually envision. It’s not the chance to be among the first to see big studio blockbusters like “Wolverine.” Rather, it’s the opportunity to see unapologetically small films that don’t last long in theaters though they offer a completely satisfying experience. Such a film is “Ballerina.” Directed and in large part shot by Bertrand Normand with a digital Betacam, “Ballerina” is not a tell-all documentary that reveals hidden conflicts or unbridgeable chasms. It is instead a beautiful snapshot of ballet life, Russian style, and a tribute to five ballerinas. It’s playing Saturday and Sunday mornings at 11 at Laemmle’s Monica in Santa Monica. Stop in if you’re in the neighborhood. You’ll be glad you did.
-- Kenneth Turan