Sexploitation and art blend uneasily in “Crazy Horse,’’ by the renowned documentarian Frederick Wiseman.
The 82-year-old takes us inside the Crazy Horse, a 60-year-old, high-end cabaret in Paris that promises “the best nude dancing in the world.’’ This isn’t your standard strip joint: It has classy performances and a wealthy clientele, 30 percent of it female. No headless-body-topless-bar types here.
Wiseman records live shows, rehearsals and behind-the-scenes meetings and preparation. The art-versus-commerce issue rears its ugly head as Crazy Horse’s director-choreographer, Philippe Decoufle, is told he can’t do all he wants to “because the shareholders won’t like it.’’
John Davey’s beautifully photographed erotic dances — owe a debt to Busby Berkeley’s 1930s musicals. But you can’t help but feel the women are being exploited, albeit willingly. It’s a shame Wiseman doesn’t explore the issue of exploiting women to make money.
In English and French; English subtitles. Running time: 134 minutes. Not rated (nudity). At Film Forum, Houston Street, west of Sixth Avenue. Through Feb. 7.