Monday, February 13, 2017

LA DANSEUSE (THE DANCER)




Directed by Stephanie Di Giusto
2017 French Film Festival preview
Palace Cinemas 9 February 2017

Review by Len Power

Part of the upcoming 2017 French Film Festival in March, ‘La Danseuse’ was previewed on 9 February at a media screening at the Palace Cinemas.  It proved to be a very interesting and absorbing movie on a fascinating subject.

Directed by Stephanie Di Giusto, ‘La Danseuse (The Dancer)’ tells the true story of performance artist, Loïe Fuller, an American born in the mid-west who became the toast of the Belle Epoque cabarets in Paris and even performed at the Paris Opera with her ‘Serpentine’ dance.

Played by French actress, Soko, Loïe seems at the beginning of the movie to have little going for her.  Her looks were not striking, she had no formal dance training and yet she had a vision and a passion that saw her achieve a great success in Paris in the late 19th century.

Di Giusto’s movie looks good on the widescreen with great attention to period detail and excellent atmospheric photography by Benoît Debie.  The music by Laura Obiols adds much to the atmosphere of this entertaining movie.

Soko gives a strong and appealing performance as Loïe and there is great support from Lily Rose Depp as dancer, Isadora Duncan, as well as Melanie Thierry as Loïe’s manager, Gabrielle, and Gaspard Ulliel as her handsome lover, Louis D’Orsay.

The recreation of Loïe’s ‘Serpentine’ dance is fascinating, especially the technical aspects of lighting and mirrors required to create her vision.  The physical demands of the dance and the impact on Loïe’s body are also very interesting.

The earlier scenes set in America are not as convincing visually as the Paris section of the movie but it doesn’t detract from the movie as a whole.  This is an enlightening movie about a pivotal figure in dance history.

The French Film Festival commences at the Palace Cinemas on the 9th of March and runs until the 4th of April.  There’s an extraordinary range of films scheduled and details can be found in the Palace Cinemas website or in the well-produced brochure available at the Palace.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program from 9am on Saturdays as well as in other selected Artsound programs.

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