Angel is a dancer wishing to adopt a child. Stormy is a dancer with a secret with her brother Sully. Jasmine is a poetess who falls in love with Dennis. Jo is a dancer who became pregnant and Jessie is a woman fighting to survive in Hollywood. The link between them is the fact that they dance at Blue Iguana, a strip-club managed by Eddie. Their personal dramas are the theme of this movie. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sheila Kelley originally conceived the idea for this film. It was supposed to be a story about incest between her character and the character played by Elias Koteas. Once the other actresses started improvising, it became more of an ensemble piece. See more »
Jo frequently takes long swigs from her whiskey container, yet never swallows any drink and speaks immediately after taking the container away from her mouth. See more »
First of all cudos to the people involved with this flick for trying something a bit different: it was almost entirely improvised, both by the actors/actresses and by the crew.
So, that good idea aside, is it any good?
Well, it's the complete opposite of Showgirls, so that's a great start! All exploitation aspects are kept to a minimum, of course to some degree such elements are inherent, unfortunately.
Characters are incredibly well brought to life and explored, to the point where the stripping scenes become annoying and you just wanna get back to the protagonist's character arcs. Hey, I'm a red blooded male too, so if I'm saying this, well, that has to be testament to its power don't you think?
I found it extremely refreshing how none of the sub plots are really finished off, you are NOT spoon fed. You are given enough information to fill in the blanks, and that's it. And you know what - that was nice, it was brave, and I appreciated it.
A lot is conveyed subtly, with looks, or with how a person in the back ground is reacting. There's a couple of stripping scenes in which the came ra actually focusses almost exclusively on the girl's face. The first scene is very short, probably less than a minute. The chick's expression is amazing - like she's only hanging on to her sanity by a thread, so cold and broken, fantastically conveyed. The second intance is longer, and is genuinely heart rending. No words or additional explanation is required for either scene. Cinema at its best.
Now for the faults.
The characters are, superficially, cliches. You've got the stupid but nice stripper. The jaded and hard stripper. The new girl. The abusive rock star boyfriend etc. However, these things are easily overlooked as they are painted in such a realistic manner.
As the aim here was realism I would NOT have introduced a character that was a contract killer! That said, the film almost makes up for this in *sploiler* the moment when he recieves a lap dance. Both stripper and killer just want to connect with another human being here, which they can't, and the scene is most poignant.
Finally, the unremitting bleakness expererienced by all characters herein does not ring entirely true. I've been to strip clubs (admittedly in the UK so maybe it's a cultural thing) and the girls are usually bright eyed and chirpy, with plenty going on outside of their line of work. They were all making a bloody good wage too, which certainly seemed to put smiles on their faces! Again though, it was all done so well, with such heart and genuine depth, that I can't really complain.
A much underrated movie.
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