Director: Frederick Wiseman
Cinematographer: John Davey
Editor: Frederick Wiseman
Cast: Philippe Decouflé, Philippe Katerine
Running time: 134 minutes
In this intimate and richly textured documentary, acclaimed filmmaker Frederick Wiseman explores one of the most mythic and colorful places in Paris, Le Crazy Horse, a legendary cabaret club founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin. Over the years Le Crazy Horse has become a Parisian nightlife “must” for visitors, ranking alongside the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Le Crazy Horse is not your average strip club. For years the erotic revue set itself apart by consistently presenting impeccable choreography, professional staging and stunning performers. Through the masterful eye of Wiseman, we explore the artistic language of the club and its vision of the modern woman.
Wiseman’s camera goes to the heart of this Parisian institution to record the creation of a new show, Désir. For 11 weeks, he follows the story of this creation, showcasing the emphasis on elegance, perfectionism and the grueling schedule performers must endure. Along the way we meet some of the legendary dancers, including Zula Zazou, Nooka Karamel, Fiamma Rosa and Loa Vahina; as well as stage managers; costume designers; Philippe Decouflé, the choreographer; and Ali Mahdavi, the show’s artistic director.
Todd McCarthy for the Hollywood Reporter says, “Wiseman seizes the opportunity to create an impressionistic portrait of a highly rarified realm, a tiny sanctuary from real life where the refined expression of sensuality, eroticism and, as per the name of the new show the film documents, desire is the be-all and end-all. Beautifully wrought images capture the dancing, the costumes, the simple but elegant settings and, of course, the exquisitely shaped girls, very often enhanced by striking and sophisticated lighting techniques and backed by generally catchy songs and techno rhythms.”
Frederick Wiseman has directed nearly 40 feature documentaries and has received multiple honors, including the American Society of Cinematographers Distinguished Achievement Award, the George Polk Career Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, three Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and a Columbia DuPont Award. His earlier film about a very different genre of French dance, La Danse – The Paris Opera Ballet, screened in the 2009 Cinema Arts Festival Houston.