This French road movie – or rail movie, given that most of the travelling is done by train – offers an intimate glance at the world of New Burlesque as Joachim, a former TV producer, takes a troupe of American performers on a tour of France.
While they move from one anonymous hotel to the next, ever more skeletons from Joachim’s former life come to light, and it quickly becomes clear that the girls’ sojourn will not quite live up to his promises of glitz and glamour.
Joachim – haggard dog look, cigarette perpetually glued to his lip – is superbly played with nervous intensity by Amalric, the film’s writer and director, providing a great, complex protagonist. The girls, with their inexhaustible exuberance and charisma, are an ideal counterpart.
Conforming to the genre’s staple of a journey of bonding and self-discovery, the film fortunately eschews many other clichés: a melodramatic look at the girls’ private lives, for example. Rather, both the characters’ flaws and the girls’ performances are recorded neutrally, resulting in a nuanced and rewarding film. Acted by real-life New Burlesque stars, the film benefits from the authenticity of their performances and may just win the art some new admirers.
Tournée | Directed by Mathieu Amalric (UK 2011) with (France 2011) with Mathieu Amalric, Miranda Colclasure, Suzanne Ramsay. Opens September 8