Saturday, August 30, 2014

Poor Man's 8 1/2

Tournée (2010) - Amalric
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The art of burlesque is in the tease- expectation of the big reveal that would never arrive, earthly desires go unfulfilled. Indeed, it retains all the mysteries of life. It's a magic act. A mirage. With that, Mathieu Amalric, an esteemed French actor, directs a group of buxom non-actors in telling the life of a washed up producer and his wayward attempt at redemption. It's a scaled down, poor man's 8 1/2.

Joachim (Amalric) is a producer and manager of American burlesque performers touring the coastal towns of France. We don't know why they are there. We don't know what was promised by Joachim (perhaps a show in Paris?). Constantly on the move, the group does a show after another in these lonely, sleepy, all too familiar (gas stations, malls, hotels, chain grocery stores, etc) towns. We don't get to know any of these performers inner lives or anything. But they are all likable gals and fully formed, ahaha, characters. Joachim is a mess of a man, trying to make a comeback of sorts in show business that is just as hostile as when he left it. He is also a terrible father. He picks up his two adorable sons and takes them with him to the tour.

With a ridiculous mustache and unkempt hair, Amalric is great as a loser who is taking everyone around him on an aimless tour to the 'end of the world'. But Tournée avoids all the cliché associated with melodramas. There is no big reveal. There are no emotional breakdowns. But there are many small fleeting moments that suggest characters' past, their connections without elaboration. It's in Joachim's glance at Mimi (Miranda Colclasure)'s tattoo of the creature from The Creature from the Black Lagoon, it's in Joachim's two sons reactions when they were given stuff toys, it's in Julie Atlas Muz's shapely legs as she makes room in the train aisle, it's in the unbuttoned shirt of a lovely gas station attendant. With an air of improvisation, Tournée first entice you with some t & a action, but it's far wiser and classier fare than at first glance.

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