France, 133 min
The legendary Parisian cabaret, high place of female beauty, opens its doors to filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, famous for his portraits of American institutions. Without abandoning his characteristic direct style, Wiseman manages to capture the beauty of the spectacle and reveal the inflexible rules that govern this “dream factory”.
The legendary Parisian cabaret, devoted to female beauty, opens its doors to Frederick Wiseman, famous for his filmed portraits of American institutions. The club in the Avenue Saint Georges, founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin, is nowadays faced with the challenge of a superabundance of erotic imagery in everyday life. In the 21st century, the dancers come from Eastern Europe: their magnificent bodies are perfectly suited to ‘tableaux’in which light is their only clothing. More exclusive than ever, this cabaret is a cockpit of often very bitter confrontation between choreographers, costume designers and managers. Wiseman does not abandon his characteristic direct style: he follows the various stages in the preparation of a new show, capturing the tensions which even the twilight of the cabaret world cannot hide. And though at first he seems to go with the flow, it is to reveal better the inflexible rules that govern this “dream factory”. You only need watch the casting scene to grasp the political import of this very attractive-looking film.
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