This is not about
the famous 19th-Century Lakota Indian Chief who led the attack at
Little Bighorn. Rather, it's a fascinating documentary by Frederick
Wiseman about the legendary Parisian cabaret club featuring nude
women dancers contains revealing interviews with the dancers,
producers, and director, celebrated choreographer Philippe Decouflé,
as well as scenes of rehearsals and performances of their dancing
called "nude chic" (also revealing).
Just as an
example, in making a request that the show close for awhile to make
changes for the new show, Désires, Decouflé pleads with his
producers, "We claim to have the best nude dancing show in the
world, and that we're renewing this type of show, so give me the
means to achieve it. If we want a dazzling premiere that will
impress the intellectuals and all, let's make it happen. Some things
can never be achieved if we never close."
In a commentary on
the morality of the girls who take off their clothes to dance,
referring to the act Venus, he said, "The girls often come
out of this act in tears." Andrée Deissenberg, the Managing Director
of Crazy Horse, responds, "They hate touching each other… They
don't like it. Because of the bizarre culture they have here. The
girls are definitely not 'dirty'. They really hate touching each
other. They're modest. Getting closer than this (leaning towards a
woman) there seems to be an invisible wall they bump into but they
won't get closer."
makes an intriguing statement, "It's probably the only place today
where naked dancers on stage...really attract women! We have many
women fans, many women clients. There's a key here. When women
possess the key to eroticism and enjoy it, men benefit from it...the
key to eroticism is the woman."
comment comes from Ali Mahdavi, the artistic director, "They're all
beautiful. But I often noticed that those of the girls who
objectively have a perfect anatomy are not the best on stage: they
rely only on beauty. The beauty they are born with gives them
self-confidence. They don't have to go beyond that. While those who
maybe have had complexes have developed a strategy and a personality
that help them transcend their handicap. It makes them more
fascinating and mysterious on stage."
My main objection
to the film is that all people speaking should be identified each
time they speak on camera. Even if they are identified the first
time, they are all so unknown that people will inevitably forget who
is who. I would have enjoyed it more had they been identified each
time. But this is a minor complaint.
In addition to the
interesting interviews and shots of the show, the film includes
travelogue quality views of Paris.
Be warned that the
film is filled with shots of naked women, who walk around backstage
unashamed of their nudity. As appealing as that might be to some,
this has a lot more depth than just a movie showing nude dancers.
In French and
English, at the Los Angeles Nuart from Feb. 3-Feb 9.