On Tour – Siff 2011 Movie Review

On Tour [ France (French, English), 2010, 111 minutes ]
Director: Mathieu Amalric
Principal Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Julie Atlas Muz, Miranda ColclasureSee it: May 28, June 9, 11 at SIFF

This is the story of an American burlesque troupe taking a performing tour through France. The performers (all actual burlesque stars in real life) have come together to create a “New Burlesque” troupe and are responsible for the creative side of the tour – developing and performing their acts. Their manager, Joachim, is a washed-up French TV producer who left for America years ago, but is now returning with this touring show and hoping to reignite his career. The group tours small French towns, and even though Joachim runs into frustrations with venue changes and personal conflicts, he is able to keep the show moving along without much negative impact on the performers. This film drops the audience right into the backstage and off-stage life of the troupe, and it follows them quasi-documentary style during a portion of their travels. There’s no real beginning or ending, but the real aim is to provide a glimpse into a world far different from the norm, and in that way I think this film succeeds.

Overall Entertainment / Enjoyment: B-
I know there are many people who absolutely adore burlesque shows in general, and I heard those people raving about the burlesque in this movie as we were leaving the theatre. I have a moderate enjoyment of burlesque and respect for the performers, but it’s not over-the-top, and so that couldn’t save the whole movie for me. I actually enjoyed watching the manager trying to keep the troupe’s tour moving along while encountering so many pitfalls and setbacks. He really seemed to want the tour to be successful not only for himself but also for the entertainers, which gave the movie the heart it would have lacked without his character.

Siff Provided Synopsis
Acclaimed actor Mathieu Amalric piles surprise on top of surprise in his joyous and generous fourth outing as a filmmaker. Directing largely in English, he takes on the world of burlesque, a hyper-feminine field filled with glitter, rouge, and pasties. The filmmaker also plays former TV producer Joachim Zand, the mustachioed manager of a bawdy troupe of American performers (all of whom are actual burlesque stars) as they travel across France. While the easily distracted Joachim agonizes about lodgings and performance venues, the girls make new friends when they aren’t shaking and shimmying onstage to the rousing strains of the Kingsmen and the Sonics. As the tour picks up steam, it transpires that Joachim has a love-hate relationship with feisty feather dancer Mimi Le Meaux (Miranda Colclasure), and that he’s made more than a few enemies over the years. As a director, Amalric proves adept at balancing his characters’ concerns with those of the ladies, the crew members, and his two sons, who join the tour for a spell and make for further wild complications.


Provided Film Synopsis

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