Review: Crazy Horse

Dear Constant Reader,

Crazy Horse, directed by Fredrick Wiseman (2011).

The good people at Zipporah Films sent me a copy of Crazy Horse to review. When I started watching the movie, I knew of the Crazy Horse in Paris, although I’ve never been.* Beyond that, I went into it a tabula rasa.

Unlike your average documentary, there are no voice overs, no captions, and no focal point. The camera roves around the Crazy Horse while a new show, Desir, is in creation. It’s almost entirely in French, with subtitles, so I found I had to pay close attention or I’d get totally lost**. We jump between rehearsals, performances, back stage, and conversations. There are too many establishing shots of Paris and the camera frequently lingers on stage lights changing colors. Honestly, I found it tedious — 2 plus hours was a bit much.

After watching it, I learned that Fredrick Wiseman is famed for his fly-on-the-wall style of film making***.

Also, I learned that I am a philistine, because all the critics absolutely raved about this film and its brilliance.

What did I like? The performance footage. It was quite inspiring. Many of the acts involved fabulous lighting effects, either silhouettes or colored images projected on the dancers. And It’s nice to see that a big-budget show has some of the same problems as our little shoe-string productions.

After a while I did get used to the fact the film had no overt adgenda, like many documentaries, but just sort of drifted around. Eventually I figured out most of what was going on, but I’m still not sure who some of the people were or their roles in the show.

M2

* I have been to the Moulin Rouge, but that’s neither here nor there.
** My French is okay, but not good enough to only listen and still follow along.
** Sometimes called it “observational cinema” or “cinéma vérité”, but apparently he dislikes those terms.

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Published in: on 14 August 2013 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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