Bur­lesque bat­tle

Two sim­i­lar(ish) films, the low-bud­get and Tin­sel­town ti­tan go tassle to tassle to­day. The for­mer has goose bumps and tat­toos and all, its star Mimi tells Tara Brady

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

IT IS NOT un­com­mon for two ri­val Hollywood stu­dios to de­velop two iden­ti­cal projects; in the early 1990s, Pa­trick Ber­gin and Kevin Cost­ner were com­pet­ing Robin Hoods; in re­cent years fam­ily au­di­ences plumped for Mada­gas­car’s run­away zoo an­i­mals over those in Dis­ney’s The Wild.

It is more un­usual, how­ever, to find a small, in­de­pen­dent movie play­ing chicken with its Tin­sel­town equiv­a­lent. Back in 1996, the govern­ment of Ar­gentina took a stand when it re­leased its own film bi­og­ra­phy of Eva Peron to co­in­cide with the open­ing of Alan Parker’s Evita. Their un­ortho­dox move gen­er­ated head­lines, pub­lic­ity and, in­deed, more rev­enue than one might have an­tic­i­pated for a small, for­eign-lan­guage ti­tle.

Few have re­peated the trick since. Coun­ter­pro­gram­ming, once the sneaky sal­va­tion of the low-bud­get sec­tor, is now hugely over­sub­scribed, while its ef­fects are di­min­ished in a mar­ket­place where the num­ber of weekly film re­leases keeps on grow­ing.

In the in­creas­ingly fran­tic world of film dis­tri­bu­tion, can David still slay Go­liath? We may well find out this com­ing week­end as two very dif­fer­ent but sim­i­larly themed movies go head-to-head at the box of­fice. In the in­die corner we find On Tour, a free­wheel­ing, Cas­savetes-in­spired com­edy from Mathieu Amal­ric fea­tur­ing fab­u­lous nou­veau bur­lesque per­form­ers in all their tat­tooed, goose-pim­pled glory. That film faces still com­pe­ti­tion from Bur­lesque, a glitzy Hollywood demi-mu­si­cal fea­tur­ing Christina Aguil­era and Cher and nary a goose pim­ple kind.

“I haven’t watched Bur­lesque yet,” says Tour’s star and global bur­lesque sen­sa­tion, Mi­randa “Mimi” Col­cla­sure. “I’ve heard there’s no ac­tual bur­lesque el­e­ment. It’s just a cabaret show that uses the name.”

Though On Tour’s di­rec­tor re­mains best­known in this part of the world for his star­ring roles in and this is Amal­ric’s fourth film at the reins. He re­ceived the best­di­rec­tor award and the FIPRESCI prize at Cannes for his trou­bles, mak­ing this one high­fal­lutin’ peepshow. His stars, in­clud­ing Col­cla­sure and her avant-garde co­horts from the Cabaret New Bur­lesque troupe, were equally well-re­ceived by the fairy-tale sea­side re­sort.

“Cannes was un­be­liev­able,” re­calls Col­cla­sure. “Sud­denly all these A-list celebri­ties were com­ing up to con­grat­u­late us. Tim Bur­ton, who was head of the jury, was just amaz­ing to us. It was so glam­orous and sur­real. And we do glam­orous and sur­real for a liv­ing.” A pleas­ing vérité romp about a ram­bunc­tious troupe of Amer­i­can strip­tease artists lost in the French prov­inces, this Franco-Amer­i­can ef­fort feels a lit­tle more, well, au­then­tic than the Cher ve­hi­cle.

“That’s be­cause we didn’t even know we were go­ing to be in the film,” laughs Col­cla­sure. “Mathieu came to see our troupe when we were tour­ing in Nantes in 2007. He came out with an­other writer and a pro­ducer and stayed for three days. We weren’t even too sure who he was. He’s huge in France but we’re not nec­es­sar­ily hip to French trends. He was very in­ter­ested in learn­ing about bur­lesque and started hang­ing around, turn­ing


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