© Prokino/24 Bilder

Die Tänzerin (The Dancer, La danseuse)
France/Belgium/Czech Republic 2016

Opening 3 Nov 2016

Directed by: Stéphanie Di Giusto
Writing credits: Thomas Bidegain, Stéphanie Di Giusto, Giovanni Lista, Sarah Thibau
Principal actors: Gaspard Ulliel, Mélanie Thierry, Lily-Rose Depp, François Damiens

La Danseuse traces the career of Loϊe Fuller (Soko), who was a pioneer of modern dance in the 1920s. After the death of her French rodeo rider father in the American West, Loϊe seeks her estranged mother's help in NYC to no avail. An innocent in spite of her background, she doesn't have much luck in her desire to become an actress until she heads off to France and dances at the Folies Bergéres. She does something that has never been done before. She creates flowing costumes with yards of silk, arranges the choreography and plans the lighting of the electric projectors on her own. She is a hit!

The time comes where she breaks out on her own and creates a troupe of young female dancers. They stay at a villa where they rehearse and endure much physical training. It is during this time that Isadora Duncan (Depp) becomes her protégé but, unfortunately, later turns into her rival when the director of the Paris Opera invites her to perform there. Loϊe suffers physically from her success. The harsh lights cause serious eye problems. The weight of the heavy costumes ruins her back. Although she has the support of Louis Dorsay (Ulliel), she suffers breakdowns but continues to keep performing in spite of her deteriorating mental and physical health. The story becomes quite melodramatic and she commits suicide.

If you have ever seen short films of Loϊe Fuller (usually doing her butterfly or serpentine dances) at Art Deco exhibits in museums, you will find this film fascinating. (Thelma Freedman)

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