Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tournee - On Tour

2010 by Mathieu Almaric - French movie, with quite a good amount of English dialogues

India has a really colonial influenced, hypocritical, way of looking at nudity and sex. And because of this there is a very strict censoring system in India that, watching some of the International movies in India, is a disaster, as they will be so badly censored. The only exception, as some say, is when movies are screened during the International film festivals. I am not sure whether movies are permitted to show in these festivals without any cuts by Indian censor board. The after effect is that, movie lovers in India really miss certain movies, which will never be played in India because of lots of nude scenes, even if they are not intended to create any sexual feelings in the viewer. La Belle Noiseuse is a striking example, which I think Indians will never be able to watch. And Tournee is yet another one.

Joachim tours in France with some middle aged Burlusque dancers, performing in small towns and cities across France. But he is unable to find a place for performance in Paris. 

For me, this movie is a master piece, a master piece from the latest times. And to know that it was written and  directed by the same man, who lived the life of a failed man in the frames, only adds on to my reasons to credit more stars to this wonderfully brilliant movie.

Joachim is a brilliant character. He was some TV producer in Paris and only earned foes than friends during that time that he had to leave his home for US. And then he makes this promise to these amazing middle aged artists for a performing tour of France, which will include a grand show at the very artistic Paris. He does manage everything for them, well attended shows every where, but in Paris. All his attempts to find a theatre  hall in Paris fails and he is as disappointed as his girls. What makes us really sorry for this guy is that he is a real failure with his family too. Even his kids, who are introduced into the plot to the latter half, a master stroke by itself, doesn't find any reason to love and respect him.

It is difficult to not be amazed by this plot, character and execution. If one needs to look at it as a road movie, you can. Or as a movie about some burlusque dancers, you can. Finally it is the movie about a failed man too. The movie does not focus specifically into any of these, but it still retains its focus as failed man touring with some burlusque dancers. The effort and bohringness of their repeated travels is effectively transmitted to the viewers. The real sadness, pretentive joy and the disenchantment in being nowhere in life for some middle aged woman who has to sing, emote and strip tease to please the crowd is brilliantly felt and so is the realisation of a man that he is nothing in life, personal or professional.

Some of the best moments of this movie involves the discussion between Joachim and his 'girls', before and after their shows. It is more like peeping into some dressing rooms of some dancers. And the script and the camera is not shy at all of what is happening there, the camera has access to almost anywhere. This middle aged dancers are all old fashioned and yet are not shy in front of the camera and they all are brilliant characters too, especially Mimi who is the person through which we are told that behind these smiling, dancing bodies, there is sadness personified.

Brilliant script, wonderfully shot. It is difficult to believe that Almaric directed this movie, while giving his best performance of life in front of the camera. I salute you sir.

This is definitely modern cinema at its best. I will stop just short of calling it a poem or verse on celluloid, just because it is a kind of real dry movie, differently styled.

French cinema is really incredible. 

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