CAPSULE: A company of performers revives the fun and slightly naughty atmosphere of the old burlesque that died about 1940. Theirs is a neo-Burlesque that is having a healthy revitalization. They create, work hard, and have what appears to be one heck of a good time. Jon Manning directs a film of interviews of people involved with the show. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
I have to admit that when this film came along I was unaware that there was still Burlesque alive in the 21st century. For those who don't know it is a lot like vaudeville, a live stage variety show, generally with skimpy costumes and a strong sexual accent including striptease performances. The original Burlesque came to the US about the time of the close of the Civil War. It supposedly died out about the time of World War II. But the people in this film are among those who have revived it as a sort of neo-Burlesque.
(As I see the film BURLESQUE: THE HEART OF THE GLITTER TRIBE I see that there is something of a revival. My wife put "New Jersey Burlesque" into a search engine and discovered that tomorrow there is to be a New Jersey Burlesque Festival not far away from where I am writing. OK, so I suppose that is evidence along with this film that burlesque still lives.)
I think this film could do a better job of explaining itself, but I guess the Glitter Tribe is this particular company of Burlesque performers. People involved with the show talk about just about anything, but as far as the film is concerned no real names are ever used. You identify people like, "oh yes, she is the one who works all night on her costumes."
We get to see some of their acts and in between there are interviews with the performers talking about life, sex, what their families think of their chosen profession, and the excruciating hours working all day and preparing their acts all night. Some of the acts are really creative. One woman loves eating burritos, eating them every day. Her idea for an act was to come out of a six-foot brown paper sack, wrapped in a human-size cloth tortilla and then again in aluminum foil, like a burrito packed to go. She works her way down to the filling, which turns out to be the very scantily dressed performer herself with a cloth jalapeno covering the parts to keep the act legal.
I guess that takes me to the nudity. It either would not be a true revival of Burlesque or a very bad documentary if there were not a lot of backstage nudity. Except for what we see in the performances themselves, nothing is intended to be very erotic. The performers seem to like the idea that they are doing something that they like and can put their entire selves into. Though some have had very painful backgrounds they are dedicated to this regimen.
This is a light and lively documentary that turns into a surprising pleasure. I rate it a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10. BURLESQUE: HEART OF THE GLITTER TRIBE will open in select theaters March 3rd and on VOD/iTunes March 7th.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6296208/combined
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/burlesque_heart_of_the_glitter_tribe
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper