5.8/10
3,473
62 user 39 critic

Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000)

A non-glamorous portrayal of the lives of people who make their living at a strip club.

Director:

Michael Radford

Writers:

Michael Radford (screenplay), David Linter (screenplay)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Ayanna ... Jessie
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Nico (as Kristin Bauer)
W. Earl Brown ... Bobby
Daryl Hannah ... Angel
Chris Hogan ... Dennis
Sheila Kelley ... Stormy
Elias Koteas ... Sully
Vladimir Mashkov ... Sacha
Sandra Oh ... Jasmine
Rodney Rowland ... Charlie
Jennifer Tilly ... Jo
Robert Wisdom ... Eddie
David Amos David Amos ... Dave
Carolyne Aycaguer Carolyne Aycaguer ... Sophie
R.C. Bates R.C. Bates ... Jimmy (as RC Bates)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

from the director of Il Postino See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive sexual content/nudity, language, some drug content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

11 October 2001 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Historias de la noche See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,181, 21 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$30,181, 21 October 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite only appearing in two scenes, Kristin Bauer made her own outfit for her strip routine and visited porn stars who gig at strip clubs. She even had training on how to use a whip. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Jasmine: [about her poetry] It's about the things inside you.
Nico: Things inside *you*.
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Alternate Versions

On the DVD commentary Michael Radford says there are enough deleted scenes to make 10 entire different versions of the whole movie. Each scene was re-filmed over 12 times as Dancing at the Blue Iguana was improvised and Michael got the actors to try each scene with alternate dialogue several times until the actors had no ideas left. However, only a select few deleted scenes/alternate takes are included on the DVD. See more »

Connections

Featured in Strip Notes (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Lips like Sugar
Written by Ian McCulloch (as McCulloch), Will Sergeant (as Sergeant) & Les Pattinson (as Pattinson)
Performed by Echo & The Bunnymen
Published by Warner Bros. Music Corp. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Warner Music U.K. Ltd.
by Sugaroo! for Basement Bot Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A haunting, thought-provoking slice of life
12 January 2002 | by redpandaSee all my reviews

OK, so "Dancing at the Blue Iguana" features wall-to-wall naked gyrating women. But don't let that put you off. Despite the subject matter - the lives of five strippers who work in the eponymous club (played by Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Sheila Kelley, Charlotte Ayanna and Sandra Oh) - and the frequent nudity, "Blue Iguana" is not a T&A movie. Rather, it's a compelling insight into the lives of the underclass of Los Angeles, or indeed, any one of the world's major cities.

If your cinematic tastes run to tightly plotted fare where all the loose ends are tied up with a big gift-wrap bow in the last five minutes, you'll probably it find frustrating. But if you can appreciate a film in which some issues are never quite resolved and some questions are never quite answered - just like real life - then you may be seduced by the "Blue Iguana".

The film has been panned by so many critics that I must admit I started watching with some trepidation, expecting to be embarrassed for the actors. But I became so engrossed in the world of the Blue Iguana that I was actually disappointed when the film ended.

Much of the criticism of "Blue Iguana" is based on the fact that it was made without a script. The actors started with only two things: the title of the film and the fact that it was set in a strip club. Everything else, they worked out themselves - their characters, their storylines, and their dialogue - in an intense series of improvisational workshops. This approach may be unconventional, but it gives "Blue Iguana" a freshness and immediacy which is rarely found in mainstream films. As Michael Radford explains, improv relies on nailing the scene in the first take; once it becomes too polished, it loses its sense of realism.

The female cast has been another target for critics - not because they're not superb actors, but because, in their late 30's to early 40s, Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly and Sheila Kelley would be too old to work as strippers in LA where beautiful young women exist in a buyer's market. But they bring a depth of sadness to their characters - you can't help wondering where they'll be a few years down the track.

Sandra Oh's performance as Jasmine is a standout. Jasmine leads a double life, stripping on the Blue Iguana stage and secretly writing poetry in the dressing room. After persuading her to read one of her painfully beautiful works at his poetry group Dennis (Chris Hogan) starts to fall in love with her mind. But Jasmine realises the fledgling romance is doomed. In the film's most heartbreaking scene, when Dennis seeks her out at the club, she performs her routine to Moby's "Porcelain" with its haunting refrain "So This is Goodbye". The camera focuses on her face. It's an impassive mask, but her eyes betray incredible sadness. She's wordlessly saying to him, "This is the real me. Do you still want me now?"

Putting aside its improv-based development, "Blue Iguana" succeeds on its own merits. If you want to see a T&A film, rent a copy of "Showgirls". If you want to see a haunting, thought-provoking slice of life, see "Dancing at the Blue Iguana".


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