Frederick Wiseman makes fly-on-the-wall documentaries. He’s basically the master of the style. It’s a style I really enjoy, but, at the same time, I feel like there isn’t much to analyze about them. Crazy Horse has Wiseman taking us behind the scenes of the famous Paris burlesque house. We get to follow the creation of a new set list for the show, from the rehearsals and meetings, to the full productions. If that sounds interesting to you, then Crazy Horse will be right up your alley. Another incentive might be the constant parade of naked ladies. Yeah.
I quite enjoyed the film on a couple of levels. First of all, the process and people behind putting the show together are fascinating. There are a few really fun characters, and to see them attempt to make art out of erotic dancing is strange in the best possible way. And then there are the final productions. I still think the whole idea is kind of tacky, but watching these elaborately lit, costumed and staged nude dance numbers did win me over to the beauty of what they are doing. It all really does look beautiful, hypnotic even, and not just because of the naked women.
The one problem with Crazy Horse is its length. This seems to be a common problem with Wiseman docs, but it’s especially noticeable here due to the relative silliness of the subject matter. The film still manages to be engaging, and it gives about as great an in-depth look at the running of a high-end burlesque house as you could expect.