On Tour (2010 film)

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On Tour
Theatrical release poster by Christophe Blain
Directed by Mathieu Amalric
Produced by
  • Yaël Fogiel
  • Laetitia Gonzalez
Written by
Starring Mathieu Amalric
Cinematography Christophe Beaucarne
Edited by Annette Dutertre
Distributed by Le Pacte (France)
Release date
  • 13 May 2010 (2010-05-13) (Cannes)
  • 30 June 2010 (2010-06-30) (France)
Running time
111 minutes
Country France
  • French
  • English
Budget €3.5 million[1]
Box office $3.5 million[2]

On Tour (French: Tournée) is a 2010 internationally co-produced comedy-drama film directed by Mathieu Amalric. It stars Amalric himself as a producer who brings an American Neo-Burlesque troupe to France, played by genuine performers Mimi Le Meaux, Kitten on the Keys, Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, Evie Lovelle and Roky Roulette. In a road movie narrative, the plot follows the troupe as they tour French port cities with their show, which was performed for actual audiences during the production. The inspiration for the film was a book by Colette about her experience from music halls in the early 20th century, and a part of Amalric's aim was to translate the sentiment of the book to a modern setting.

The film premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Award, the festival's main prize from film critics. Amalric also received the Best Director Award.


Formerly successful television producer Joachim Zand returns from America to his native France, where he previously has left everything behind, including friends, enemies and his own children. In his company is a burlesque striptease troupe whom he has promised a grand performance in Paris.

Together they tour the French port cities, staying at cheap hotels and making success along the way. Old conflicts are, however, reignited upon the return to the French capital. Joachim is betrayed by people from his past, making him lose the venue where they were to perform, and the Paris finale comes to nothing.[3]


  • Mathieu Amalric as Joachim Zand
  • Miranda Colclasure as Mimi Le Meaux
  • Suzanne Ramsey as Kitten on the Keys
  • Linda Maracini as Dirty Martini
  • Julie Ann Muz as Julie Atlas Muz
  • Angela de Lorenzo as Evie Lovelle
  • Alexander Craven as Roky Roulette
  • Damien Odoul as François
  • Ulysse Klotz as Ulysse
  • Simon Roth as Baptiste
  • Joseph Roth as Balthazar
  • Pierre Grimblat as Chapuis
  • André S. Labarthe as The cabaret manager
  • Anne Benoît as The cashier
  • Julie Ferrier as Herself


The idea for the film came from the 1913 book The Other Side of Music-Hall by Colette, a collection of texts written for a newspaper about her life during a music hall tour in the French provinces. The project started around the same time as the suicide of independent film producer Humbert Balsan, which also had made an impression on Amalric.[4] "I'm fascinated by producers. I always wonder how they manage to keep going and take such responsibility. ... So these different themes came together and I invented a story about a French TV producer and the women who were courageous enough to come to France with him."[5] In the early drafts of the screenplay, Amalric struggled with the context of the story, figuring whether he would be able to put early 20th century vaudeville in a present-day setting, or attach the sentiment of Colette's book to modern striptease. Then he read an article in Libération about the American Neo-Burlesque movement, where performers mix striptease with comedy and a resistance to social pressures, and Amalric saw a connection to what Colette had been doing.[6] The narrative was written before any further research was made, as Amalric did not want the film to be too much like a documentary. The first time he saw a Neo-Burlesque show was in 2007, in Nantes. He says that he did not mention the film project to the performers, but spent the following three days in their company.[7] Later on he went to the United States to see as many shows as possible and study the movement in detail.[6]

The film was produced by Les Films du Poisson for a budget of 3.52 million Euro, including co-production support from Arte France, German company Neue Mediopolis and an advance on receipts from the National Center of Cinematography and the moving image.[8] The director originally envisioned Portuguese producer Paulo Branco in the role of Joachim, but decided to cast himself only weeks before filming started. Amalric still wore a moustache throughout the film that was based on Branco's facial hair.[4]

Filming started in April 2009 and lasted two months.[9][10] The troupe went on an actual tour along French port cities in order to provide the necessary footage. Hundreds of local extras performed as themselves as audiences.[11] Locations were used in Le Havre, La Rochelle, Nantes, Rochefort, and Paris.[9] For the visual style Amalric drew inspiration from American cinema of the 1970s, and in particular The Killing of a Chinese Bookie by John Cassavetes.[6]


The red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on 13 May 2010. From left to right: Dirty Martini, Mimi Le Meaux, Julie Atlas Muz, festival general Thierry Frémaux, Simon Roth, Joseph Roth, Kitten on the Keys, Mathieu Amalric, festival CEO Véronique Cayla and Evie Lovelle.

On Tour premiered on 13 May at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival as the first film to be screened in the main competition.[12] At the press conference following the screening, Amalric talked about how excited the performers were about the festival: "It’s the opposite of what happens in our movie. In the story, they were promised Paris, and got nothing. But in this story, they were promised nothing, and they’re all at Cannes".[13]

The French theatrical premiere followed on 30 June through Le Pacte, who launched it on 159 screens.[14] On Tour had an attendance of 172,154 during the first week and thereby entered the French box office chart at number five.[15] One week later the number of prints had been increased to 275 and the film climbed one position.[16] After two months at the box office, the film had a total of 479,000 admissions in France.[17] The U.S. premiere was scheduled for 5 May 2011 as the closing night film of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival.


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83%, based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10.[18]

The immediate reception in Cannes was somewhat mixed. In Le Monde, Jacques Mandelbaum called it "a joy for the eyes and the heart", and argued that "even in its randomness, its failure and imperfection, On Tour is a film that was desperately needed."[19] Jonathan Romney of Screen wrote that "this drama with comic touches doesn't live up to the brassiness misleadingly promised in the neon-styled opening credits", and continued: "On Tour doesn't suggest as strong a personality behind the camera as in front of it, and Amalric's appeal as a director – this is his fourth feature – is yet to prove itself commercially. But his own engaging lead performance will certainly be a selling point."[20] "A few touching moments don't redeem this loose, baggy tale of redemption", Peter Brunette summarized his verdict in The Hollywood Reporter.[21]

The film won two awards in Cannes. Amalric received the Best Director Award, and the film won the FIPRESCI Award for best film in the main competition.[22] The FIPRESCI Award is handed out by an international group of film critics, and with the mixed response from festival reviews, Variety wrote that the win came as a surprise: "[On Tour] ranked second to last through Thursday on Cannes' main critics poll."[23]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Nominated
Best Director Mathieu Amalric Won
César Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Mathieu Amalric Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Mathieu Amalric, Philippe Di Folco, Marcelo Novias Teles and Raphaëlle Valbrune Nominated
Best Cinematography Christophe Beaucarne Nominated
Best Editing Annette Dutertre Nominated
Best Sound Olivier Mauvezin, Séverin Favriau and Stéphane Thiebaut Nominated
Best Costume Design Alexia Crisp-Jones Nominated
Globes de Cristal Award Best Film Nominated
Gopo Awards Best European Film Nominated
Lumières Awards Best Director Mathieu Amalric Nominated
RiverRun International Film Festival Best Actor Mathieu Amalric Won


  1. ^ "Tournée". JP's Box-Office. 
  2. ^ "Tournée (On Tour)". Box Office Mojo. 
  3. ^ "English press kit" (PDF). Le Pacte. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Sotinel, Thomas (13 May 2010). "De Mathieu Amalric à Joachim Zand, un long processus à moustache". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Leffler, Rebecca (11 May 2010). "Q&A: Mathieu Amalric". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Rigoulet, Laurent (12 May 2010). "Mathieu Amalric : Comment j’ai tourné cinéaste...". Télérama (in French). Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Kaganski, Serge; Morain, Jean-Baptiste (4 July 2010). "Mathieu Amalric, ivre de femmes et de paillettes". Les Inrockuptibles (in French). Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Lemarcier, Fabien (16 April 2010). "Tavernier, Beauvois and Amalric in race". Cineuropa. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Martin, Guillaume (12 January 2009). "Mathieu Amalric en 'Tournée'". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 16 April 2010. 
  10. ^ Boisseau, Rosita (30 June 2010). "Une troupe nostalgique et subversive venue des Etats-Unis". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Balthry, Benoît (20 April 2009). "Mathieu Amalric choisit Nantes pour " Tournée "". Télénantes (in French). Retrieved 16 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "The screenings guide" (PDF). festival-cannes.com. Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Dupont, Joan (13 May 2010). "‘Tournée’: Burlesque on Tour and Broken Dreams". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  14. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (30 June 2010). "Le Pacte launches much-loved On Tour on 159 screens". Cineuropa. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Box-office : 'Shrek' débute fort sa tournée d'adieux". AlloCine (in French). Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "France Box Office July 7–11, 2010". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (1 September 2010). "Palme d’Or-winner Uncle Boonmee launched on 84 screens". Cineuropa. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  18. ^ "On Tour (Tournée) (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  19. ^ Mandelbaum, Jacques (13 May 2010). "'Tournée' : les plaisirs de la chair et les périls de la route". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Romney, Jonathan (13 May 2010). "On Tour (Tournée)". Screen. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  21. ^ Brunette, Peter (13 May 2010). "On Tour – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  22. ^ Chang, Justin (23 May 2010). "'Uncle Boonmee' wins Palme d'Or". Variety. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  23. ^ Hopewell, John; Keslassy, Elsa (22 May 2010). "Int'l critics bestow top honors at Cannes". Variety. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 

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