A woman in a futuristic costume dances while she is reflected at multiple angles making her movements like a kaleidoscope. Textured light projects polka-dots on a line of women simultaneously enhancing and obscuring the natural curves of their bodies. These, and a myriad of other creative, dream-like images are what makes the Parisian cabaret, Crazy Horse, a spectacular place to simply observe and the prolific documentary filmmaker, Fredrick Wiseman, one of the key players in the development of cinema verité, is that observer. However, CRAZY HORSE, is not just bodies on display (although there is a lot of that). It is as much about observation as it is about manipulation.
Please note that video contains nudity and is not suitable for children
Like Fredrick Wiseman’s previous films, CRAZY HORSE is told without any talking head interviews or directing the action in anyway. He captures what he sees, but that does not mean that he does not have a hand in manipulating the film. Through the editing, Wiseman conveys a bemused, affectionate, and reverent look at the players of the Crazy Horse Paris. From director Philippe Decouflé’s rigid professionalism, artistic director Ali Mahdavi’s eccentric and passionate devotion to the Crazy Horse, and costume designer Fifi Chachnil’s carefully detailed perfectionism, Wiseman illustrates that there is an astonishing amount of creative force that goes into the building of a burlesque show.
The Crazy Horse Paris is world renowned for having sophisticated and avant-garde performances by classically trained nude dancers. The transcendent beauty of the female body as presented at by the Crazy Horse dancers is achieved through hard work, not only on their part, but on the part of the directors as well. Just as Wiseman manipulates the footage to get across the personalities of the Crazy Horse, Philippe Decouflé and his team manipulate the light and movement to transform a group of women into the essence of sensuality. The process is a thrilling thing to witness.