Three Dancing Slaves

"Very Good"

Three Dancing Slaves Review


The fast-moving story of a trio of tormented French brothers, Three Dancing Slaves is a mostly depressing yet ultimately uplifting peek inside a family that's falling apart fast.

The death of the family matriarch, a woman who clearly had the ability to keep her trouble-prone sons in check, has sent oldest adult son Christophe (Stéphane Rideau), middle son Marc (Nicolas Cazalé), and teenage son Olivier (Thomas Dumerchez) reeling. As the film opens on a chapter devoted to Marc (the film has one section for each brother), Christophe is in jail, Marc is hanging around with the local drug dealers, and young Olivier is most likely to be found talking to photograph of his dead mother. Dad (Bruno Lochet) is just as adrift, distant, and unable to keep control of the volatile Marc.

Marc, whose pent-up rage and pouty beauty recall a young Brando, enjoys working out, playing with his dog, and shaving. In fact, shaving -- of just about any body part you can think of -- is the film's most consistent recurring theme, suggesting a rather powerful fetish being worked out by writer/director Gaël Morel. Dad is infuriated when he finds Marc trimming his pubic hair in the middle of the living room, but errant body hair is the least of Marc's trouble when he runs afoul of the dealers and is forced to kill his own dog as punishment.

Christophe, on the other hand, symbolizes redemption. He emerges from jail and commits himself to keeping a job, even if that job is a nightmarish night shift position rubbing salt into hams at the local meatpacking plant. He manages to get promoted and find a girlfriend, even as his brothers and father keep giving him grief.

It's Olivier who turns out to have the most emotional turmoil to work out. In addition to steering clear of the scary Marc and the morose Dad and mourning his mother, he's trying to find a way out of this provincial dead-end town, perhaps in the company of his good friend and capioera partner Hicham (Salim Kechiouche). That friendship, which leads to some beautiful paragliding (not to mention some erotic shaving) is what gives the film whatever optimism it can muster.

Morel's overlapping and hopscotch plotting keeps us guessing and filling in crucial blanks, just as we would if we were trying in real life to figure out what was going on with that strange family down the street. It's an effective technique and one that survives the film's stranger agendas, not only the shaving obsession but also a light overlay of incest indicated by a scene in which the three brothers sleep together naked, limbs intertwined. Dad observes this and merely rolls his eyes and walks away. Perhaps Morel is simply showing the universal truth that all brothers have love/hate relationships. Perhaps he's hinting at more. Either way, this France is full-frontal.

Aka Le Clan, 3 Dancing Slaves.

Do the hustle.



Three Dancing Slaves

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 16th June 2004

Box Office Worldwide: 21

Distributed by: TLA Releasing

Production compaines: TLA Releasing, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gaël Morel

Producer: Philippe Jacquier

Starring: Nicolas Cazalé as Marc, Stéphane Rideau as Christophe, Thomas Dumerchez as Olivier, as Hicham, Bruno Lochet as The Father, as The Professor, Olivier Perez as Zora the transexual

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