On Tour (15)
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Time Out says
Tue Dec 7 2010Before ‘Burlesque’ thuds into cinemas, you’d do well to catch French actor-filmmaker Mathieu Amalric’s smarter and sexier take on the form. ‘On Tour’ stars Amalric as Joachim, a semi-washed-up producer returning to his native France with a touring troupe of New York’s finest neo-burlesquers including Julie Atlas Muz, Dirty Martini and Mimi le Meaux (playing themselves). They’re looking forward to finishing the run in Paris, but with booking hassles, inter-company tensions and Joachim’s young sons in the mix, it could be a bumpy ride.
Initially inspired by Colette’s memoir of her music-hall days, Amalric researched his subject, cast from life, brought his troupe on a real-life tour of provincial venues and shot the film in a naturalistic style (he cites Cassavetes as an influence). The result, delivered in a mix of English and French, feels lived in, charming, touching and spiky, if somewhat rambling. There’s a strong sense of the tour as work – bland hotels, travel co-ordination, Muzak – as well as the situation’s propensity to let cooped-up emotions, from anger to lust, marinate.
If anything, Amalric focuses on the troupe’s everyday experience at the expense of the frisson of scandalous novelty they bring to their small-town audiences and the pleasures of watching them perform: combining defiant sexuality, wit and shock value, these are among the scene’s strongest acts and they’re seldom allowed simply to do their thing from beginning to end. Even so, there’s an infinitely greater thrill to be had from ten seconds of Dirty Martini’s ample moneymaker than two hours of high-gloss Hollywood pap.
Author: Ben Walters