Dancing at the Blue Iguana
Drama / Mystery
Dancing at the Blue Iguana
Drama / Mystery
WEB: same quality as BluRay, but ripped earlier from a streaming service
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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. —Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 05:11 PM
grade Movie Reviews
Extremely sexy and sad film
Upon first impression, Dancing at the Blue Iguana might appear to be just another "T and A movie," like Showgirls. After all, isn't Dancing at the Blue Iguana about strippers and "pole dancers," and doesn't it contain copious amounts of female nudity, just like Showgirls? Yes, on both of these counts. However, merely to conclude from this that Dancing at the Blue Iguana is just another "skin flick" is mistaken, and misses the fact that there is something much deeper going on here. This is more a film about the troubles and unrealized hopes of its characters (who happen to work in a strip club), rather than about their bodies. In short, there is a sadness, poignancy, and desperation, which exists at the heart of Dancing at the Blue Iguana, which gives it a dramatic power not found (nor attempted) in a superficially similar film like Showgirls (which, arguably, just is a "T and A movie").This film was directed by Michael Radford, who is most famous for his work on Il Postino. The script and the characters in the film grew out of an improvisational workshop which Radford conducted with his lead actors. They each had to research their characters and come up with a storyline for them. Although the acting done in the film is improvised, it sounds polished and believable, and gives the film a raw, edgy feel. The actors for the most part create interesting and sympathetic characters. I'll mention two characters that I liked most. First, Darryl Hannah plays "Angel," a character who is naive and innocent at heart, even though she's a stripper. There is a scene in the film in which she gets herself arrested by a cop, and how she gets arrested I will not disclose, but suffice it to say that it is ironic, funny, and sad. Second, Sandra Oh plays "Jasmine," a stripper who is secretly a poet at heart. She regularly attends a poetry reading and at one of those meetings, she gets involved with its organizer. He thinks that she is a great poet, and perhaps can even get published. She initially has reservations about their relationship, because she is a stripper, and she fears that he won't accept her because of that. He assures her that it doesn't bother him. Skipping forward, there is a scene between them which is my favorite in the film. He decides to visit the club where Jasmine works ("Blue Iguana") after she repeatedly failed to return his calls (and why she doesn't do so is wisely left understated by the film). She comes out and does one of her dance routines. He sees her for the first time for who she really is, a stripper. And although he doesn't say a word, his expression tells all: I do not approve of that. The sound track for this scene is Moby's song "Porcelain," and it feels like it was written specially for this scene. During the song's refrain ("So this is goodbye..."), he eventually gets up and leaves, obviously full of disappointment. Meanwhile, Jasmine continues her dance to a crowd of cheering audience, and although her face might remain expressionless, her eyes betray her true emotion: during her pole dance, tears flow down her cheeks. That scene really stayed with me for some time after the film ended. The girls that work at "Blue Iguana" are strippers, but they're people, too. And just like the rest of us, they seek true love, but are often left disappointed, and they have hopes and ambitions, which they often do not follow through. Watching Dancing at the Blue Iguana, I was reminded of a beautiful point that Roger Ebert made in his (print) review of Sid and Nancy, back in 1986: "If a movie can illuminate the lives of other people who share this planet with us and show us not only how different they are but, how even so, they share the same dreams and hurts, then it deserves to be called great." Dancing at the Blue Iguana is such a film, and it deserves to be called great.
A haunting, thought-provoking slice of life
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".
Improv at its best!
It is my understanding that the most of this project was done via improvisation which would explain for its peaks and drops. I would imagine that filming a project based on improv is difficult but at times this cast of actors make it look scripted. At best, Jennifer Tilly shows one how its done, at worse, you wish Darryl Hannah had a script.Here you are presented a few days in the lives of your regular ordinary everyday working strippers/dance gals at a club that is..where else but the Los Angeles San Fernando Valley. You get it all, the drugs, the cat fights, the sex and the overall portrayal that its just a job, a job that is like any other with all the same problems. The five main characters do it well. Jennifer Tilly is the best, Sandra Oh runs a very close second. I was a tad disappointed in Shelia Kelley's character, but Shelia did great with what she had to work with, and I felt the same with little Charolotte Ayanna's character portrayal as well. But Darryl Hannah, who's character was pretty developed more than all the others was pretty sad to watch under this method of outlined improv. The owners of the club were good as well with what they were handed, I just wish I could have known more about them and what made them tick to be at this club. One of the best scenes that makes this kind of dramatic acting inprov filming/work come together is the end with the stripper/writer character played by Sandra Oh and the overglorified porno star who danced for the evening played by Kristin Bauer.This film had a few small holes here and there to me, but I really enjoyed watching the actresses and actors work with this kind of project on this kind of level..and if you watch some scenes real close, you can see that a few of the actresses and actors were surprised at the lines coming out of other actresses mouths which is what I believe this project was all about. Only on that level, I grant this film of a peek into the lives of these women -- as an overall success and I hope that other film makers explore the genre. It's brings alot of realism in a fictional background.A must see for anyone studying acting, a rare kinda find for us the regular film viewer, and for those who want to turn in to their cable sets in the middle of the night and watch a bunch of girls strip and dance -- well, that's there too, but Michael Radford lets you know, that is not what is important.
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