6.5/10
1,843
7 user 50 critic

The Dancer (2016)

La danseuse (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 1 December 2017 (USA)
Loïe Fuller was the toast of the Folies Bergères at the turn of the 20th century and an inspiration for Toulouse-Lautrec and the Lumière Brothers. The film revolves around her complicated relationship with protégé and rival Isadora Duncan.

Writers:

Thomas Bidegain (collaboration), Giovanni Lista (novel) | 6 more credits »
1 win & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Soko ... Marie-Louise Fuller - dite Loïe Fuller
Gaspard Ulliel ... Le comte Louis d'Orsay
Mélanie Thierry ... Gabrielle Bloch
Lily-Rose Depp ... Isadora Duncan
François Damiens ... Edouard Marchand - le directeur artistique des Folies-Bergère
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing ... Armand Duponchel - le directeur de l'Opéra
Amanda Plummer ... Lili - la mère de Loïe
Denis Ménochet ... Ruben - le père de Loïe
Charlie Morgan ... Jeff
Tamzin Merchant ... Kate
William Houston ... Rud (as Will Houston)
Bert Haelvoet ... L'acteur qui joue dans Macbeth
Camille Rutherford ... L'actrice qui joue dans Macbeth
Laurent Manzoni Laurent Manzoni ... Le médecin
Matilda Kime Matilda Kime ... L'assistante de Louis (as Mathilda Kime)
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Storyline

There was nothing in her background to prepare Loïe to become the toast of the Folies Bergères in Paris and stages across the world. Then she created the 'Serpentine Dance'... 1887. After the death of her gold prospector father, 25-year-old Marie-Louise leaves her life in the American West to join her mother in New York and pursue her heart's dream - becoming an actress. One night on stage, becoming tangled in her long dress, she avoids falling by spinning the fabric in a graceful, magical gesture: the "Serpentine Dance" is born. The audience - shocked, then overwhelmed - calls out for more. Marie-Louise has become Loïe Fuller. She embarks on a new, hectic life, leaving New York, where imitators try to steal her radical innovations, for Paris. At the Folies Bergères, she dazzles the capital, and illustrious admirers fall at her feet. Toulouse Lautrec, the Lumière Brothers, Rodin... the Electric Fairy becomes an icon, the blazing symbol of a generation. But fame isn't all. An encounter... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Inspired by extraordinary true events. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

1 December 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dancer See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 142.843. See more »

Goofs

Loie first performed at the Follies Bergere in the early 1890s, but the director of the Follies Bergere is driving an "olde tymey" car from perhaps 2 decades later when Loie ambushes him in his carpark in order to present an impromptu audition. See more »

Soundtracks

Destined For Great Things
Composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Performed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
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User Reviews

 
an engaging bio pic of an avant-garde Parisian dancer
5 October 2017 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

Historians have a way of sterilising cinema. So many words are wasted on whether a film is accurate instead of understanding and enjoying film as an artform. The Dancer (2016) is a bio-pic based on the life of Loíe Fuller who pioneered a hybrid dance performance that integrated visual spectacle and physical movement. Historians can fuss over facts, but others will enjoy what is an aesthetically intense story of creative innovation in late 19th Century Paris.

The story opens with Loíe (Soko) raised by her drunken father on a farm in America. A keen reader with a vivid imagination, she dreams of a career as an actress. After her father dies, she uses money stolen from a would-be seducer to cross the Atlantic in search of fame. She stumbles upon a Parisian theatre looking for a performer to fill the stage during interval. As a talented artist with an eye for design, she conceives of a dance act that disguises her modest dancing talent and creates a dramatic serpentine performance using a costume of batons and swirling bedsheets. Her act is immediately popular. Although physically arduous, the performance evolves to using silk, coloured lights, and dramatic music, and suddenly Loíe is the toast of Paris. When the talented teenage dancer Isadora Duncan (Lilly_Rose Depp) joins the troupe, the stress of dancing on Loíe's body, her penchant to overspend, and her emerging sexual ambivalence, all begin to take their toll.

This is a luscious film to watch. Its rich colour palette, top-shelf production values and unconventional characterisations create the dramatic energy which drives the narrative. Undoubtedly, it is Soko's physicality and her acting style that makes this film work. She has an almost androgynous beauty that the camera exploits; in some scenes she appears dashingly handsome, in others, sublimely feminine. With an emotive range that switches effortlessly from ingénue to sophisticate, she transfixes with her gender-free expressiveness, even under the on- screen competitive pressure of the beautiful young Isadora. The serpentine dance performances are mesmerising. They hang in a space somewhere between classical ballet, modern jazz, and a gyrating living sculpture draped in wings of silk accompanied by Vivaldi under spotlights. It's easy to understand their immense popularity as a dramatic innovation in stage performance. Above all else, The Dancer captures this spirit of excitement.

Reading this film as history gets in the way of enjoying it as visual spectacle and engaging narrative. Loíe Fuller was praised by luminaries of her time, such as Yeats, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Rodin, but largely forgotten in her native country. The Dancer is a tribute to an avant-garde artiste whose legacy lives on in theatrical dance effects that have become an artform in their own right.


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