The idea made sense at first: hire veteran documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield to follow the progress of impresario Andre Heller's all singing, all dancing, all black stage extravaganza 'Body and Soul'. The movie would be, in its producer's own words, "a real life Fame" and a document of the creative process, the first step of which was a budget reduction for the film crew from 1.3 million to a miserly 300,000 dollars. With little money and even less time for preparation, the documentary took on a life all its own, becoming a candid backstage portrait of compromise and confrontation, with the film and stage teams clashing head on (sometimes literally; at one rehearsal the camera even collides with choreographer Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of the Duke). When the musical finally premiered in Munich it was called "the biggest show to come out of Germany since World War Two", an assessment the battle-weary Broomfield would no doubt endorse. His finished film includes only two minutes from the final stage production but nevertheless works as an instructive show biz primer (in ways his producers never dreamed of), charting all the anger, frustration and absurdity on both sides of the camera.
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