Review: ‘The Warriors of Beauty’

A classy transposition to celluloid of the modern dance madness of Flemish choreographer Jan Fabre, "The Warriors of Beauty" is droll nonsense choreographed to amuse and unsettle. Experimental pic is a series of wacky tableaux performed by dancers with a few offbeat anecdotes and proclamations thrown in.

A classy transposition to celluloid of the modern dance madness of Flemish choreographer Jan Fabre, “The Warriors of Beauty” is droll nonsense choreographed to amuse and unsettle. Set entirely in the vaulted stone and stucco rooms of a distinctive castle, experimental pic is a series of wacky tableaux performed by supple, muscular, frequently naked dancers with a few offbeat anecdotes and proclamations thrown in.

Whether it’s large beetles crawling out of a woman’s mouth or prowling the periphery of a stoic vagina; a bride holding a plate of eyeballs; a knight doing ferocious battle with an invisible dragon; or a blind man who breaks into a fluid dance with his cane, film parades an entertaining cast of recurring characters with whom to spend an hour or so. Action is consistently peculiar, often riveting, frequently funny and pic doesn’t overstay its welcome. Gestures are as imaginative as they are incongruous, and executed with panache. Camera is mostly still and respectful as dancers come and go. Crisp images are nicely lit.

The Warriors of Beauty

France-Belgium

Production

A Regards Prods. (France)/Corsan (Belgium) production, in association with ZDF/Arte. (International sales: Regards, Paris.) Produced by Chantal Delanoe. Directed, written by Pierre Coulibeuf, based on the choreography of Jan Fabre.

Crew

Camera (color), Yves Cape; editor, Jean Daniel Fernandez Qundez; costume designer, Daphne Kitschen. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival, Sweden, Jan. 25, 2003. (Also in Rotterdam Film Festival.) Running time: 69 MIN.

With

Jan Fabre, William Forsythe, Els Deceukelier, Annabelle Chambon, Cedric Charron, Sebastien Cneude, Anny Czupper, Edmond Fabre, Emio Greco.
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