‘On Tour’, about brassy American burlesque performers touring the French countryside, will close the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival scheduled for April 21 – May 5, 2011. French actor Mathieu Amalric directs and stars in this sexy, wistful comedy, featuring burlesque performers from San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and New York

Acclaimed French actor Mathieu Amalric directs and stars in this unsentimental homage to the burlesque show and outsized female personalities barely contained by the proscenium stage. This chatty, bawdy entertainment reminds us that women have real bodies — and they want to run the show. All the women in On Tour — winner of the jury prize for Best Director and the FIPRESCI prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival — are authentic American performers of what is dubbed the New Burlesque. Their acts are not only comic, theatric and erotic but also hypnotic, draped knowingly in feather boas, in a wink to audiences who think they’re watching just a striptease. Keeping the acts and the narrative flowing is the troupe’s manager, Joachim (played by Amalric, in a performance that recalls his lovable alienated misfits in Arnaud Desplechin’s films [Kings and Queen, SFIFF 2005]). A former French TV producer who left France for the United States after some untold disgraces, Joachim has found renewed purpose with a bevy of burlesque queens. He brings them to France with him for a tour of the countryside that will be either a journey of redemption or an utter failure. For the sassy, brassy ladies, it’s a different story. They’ve been promised Paris, but they are willing to give their all in the seedy theaters Joachim books for them in backwater towns along France’s west coast. They are pros after all, and in the end, the show must go on.

Click here for the trailer [ Warning: brief nudity ]

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