Dancer Upstairs

Dancer Upstairs
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Dancer Upstairs
, 2003
De John Malkovich
Scénario : Nicholas Shakespeare
Avec : Javier Bardem, Oliver Cotton, Juan Diego Botto, Alexandra Lancastre, Elvira Minguez, Laura Morante
Durée : 2h15
Sortie : 01/01/2003
Note FilmDeCulte : *****-

In a South America country gangrened by a powerful terrorist movement, Augustin Rejas, an idealistic former lawyer who’s now a detective, takes up the challenge of unmasking and arresting the guerilla leader who goes by the name Ezekiel. In order to get away from the political upheaval of his country, Augustin finds shelter in Yolanda's arms, his daughter’s beautiful dance teacher

John Malkovich hesitated for seventeen long years before he decided to go behind the camera. What triggered him was a captivating novel by Nicholas Shakespeare, who was inspired by the search for the leader of the terrorist movement "Shining Path". Malkovich manages to adapt on screen the incongruous aspects of the novel caused by the mixing of historical facts and fictitious events. Sticking to the idea of always “covering the tracks”, the location is never revealed. No name, the main city is simply called "The Capital" and even if the guerilla leader is frequently named, his face is never shown. Using this strategy, Malkovich doesn’t take part with either side of the revolution. He simply observes the facts. He makes use of the ambiguous situations emerging from this strange atmosphere to turn the plot into a game of permanent waiting.

As if they were infected by their own country the characters are fragmented, struggling between two realities, two political powers. First there's Augustin Rejas (magnificiently brought to life by Javier Bardem), a former lawyer who became a detective in order "to apply the law with honour". As opposed to the common detective stereotypes, Rejas manages to put aside all of his burning obsessions so he can take time to stick to his duties as father, husband and policeman. While he’s on the hunt for the biggest South American terrorist, he takes time to do the dishes or pick up his daughter after her dance class. Facing Rejas is the beautiful Yolanda, "the dancer upstairs". Frightened both by darkness (literally) and the war that is raging outside, she seems to be overtaken by events that she’s supposed to have a hold on. Above them are two leaders: a lieutenant general torn between two antagonist political forces and a revolutionary terrorist whose skin disease is keeping him locked up.

Even if Malkovich sometimes wanders off during some long moments, his approach of his actors in movement (especially during the short dance scenes) and his way of framing are impeccable. Gifted with a keen visual sense, Malkovich gives us a touching movie who manages to avoid clichés.

par Julie Anterrieu