Film Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Revealing Documentary Offers Eye-Opening Peek inside Parisian Strip Club
Opened in 1951 by owner Alain Bernardin, Crazy Horse is a popular Paris destination for open-minded tourists, ranking right up there with the Louvre and The Eiffel Tower as a must-see attraction. Known for its tasteful nude revues in which elegant females strip in synchronized fashion, the classy burlesque theater might best be thought of as France’s blue version of Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes.
The curvy, acrobatic dancers slowly shed their costumes doing a daring bump and grind to pulsating music during flawlessly-choreographed routines designed to intensify sensuality. The skits often rely on innuendos courtesy of strategically-placed props reminiscent of the running joke repeatedly employed for laughs in the Austin Powers trilogy.
Producing such a successful, long-running stage show is no mean feat, which is probably why director Frederick Wiseman decided to make a documentary about the legendary landmark. Afforded unusual access to the erotic cabaret, Wiseman’s camera paints a behind-the-scenes picture which is less about sex than about dedicated, young ecdysiasts being put through the work grinder.
This is no surprise, given their grueling daily schedules and the proprietor’s emphasis on practice and perfection. So, while yes there is a fair amount of skin revealed onscreen, this eye-opening deconstruction of the burlesque biz is apt to disappoint anyone approaching it with titillation in mind.
Girls Gone Wild Paris style!
Very Good (3 stars)
In French and English with subtitles.
Running time: 134 minutes
Distributor: Zipporah Films
Tuesday, January 24, 2012