director Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman has directed numerous documentaries in his nearly 50 year career, but I had never seen any of them before I watched his film Crazy Horse.
I can’t recall where or when I first read about it, but it sounded interesting. I’ve had it in my film queue for a long while until it finally became available on DVD from Netflix.
Wiseman sets his camera in the world of the Crazy Horse, a unique Paris burlesque/cabaret/nude show, self-touted as “the best nude show in the world”. And the show clips are interesting, done with strong artistic vision, great professional effort and fantastic lighting. The film peers in as “the Crazy” as the insiders call it is trying to reinvent its show while keeping the doors open.
As I said, I haven’t seen Wiseman’s other films, but with subjects like Ballet (1995), La Danse (2009), and Boxing Gym (2010), I think it’s fair to surmise that the study of performers, artists, dancers, or other professionals seems to interest him and his lens. Not just the performances themselves but the practice, the workroom efforts, the day-to-day elements that in part comprise the whole of the world are on display. These people are dancers/choreographers/directors of great talent and ethic, certainly.
We have a local “Crazy Horse Gentlemen’s Club” here in San Francisco to which I have never gone, but one can probably surmise it isn’t built on the same aesthetic culture of the Parisian one.
In perusing information about Wiseman’s other films, it seems that this one, clocking in at 134 minutes is by no means unusual. But length isn’t really of merit here, I would say. It gets tedious. And ultimately, I’m not sure what one is meant to intuit from the grand finale, which we see them working and working on, the new segment “DESIR” but unlike a lot of the other stuff they do, it’s amazingly crap.