How rare it is that we get to see a Frederick Wiseman film on the big screen, and how lucky we are that his latest offering is one of his most colorful and visceral features yet. This time around, the 82-year-old documentarian focuses his lens on Paris’ Crazy Horse club, home of “the best chic nude show on Earth.” Wiseman takes his standard cinema verite approach towards his subject as he explores all corners and aspects of this famed Moulin Rouge-esque nightspot. From the gorgeous young dancers to the board engineers, the costume suppliers to the shlubby tourists who are catered to with bottles of champagne and souvenir photos, Wiseman presents everything as a silent observer who is more concerned with establishing a sense of place rather than a traditional narrative. He captures the slightly awkward audition process, the creative differences amongst the staff, and the featured dancers’ audio recording sessions (they both sing the songs that they dance to and create the sexual noises that are part of their acts). There are a few standouts amongst the cast including a perfectionist director constantly at odds with the show’s shareholders and an overly obsessed artistic director whose endless dedication to the show provides some great laughs. The main attraction is, of course, the dancers themselves: dozens of fit young women in various stages of dress whose performances are nothing short of high art complete with multi-colored screens, complex lighting setups, and an endless amount of creative projection. I swear this film could play the Forum if it wasn’t so gorgeous.
Crazy Horse opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.
Author: Eric Bresler
Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.