The Dancer Upstairs (film)
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|The Dancer Upstairs|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Malkovich|
|Written by||Nicholas Shakespeare|
|Based on||The Dancer Upstairs
by Nicholas Shakespeare
|Cinematography||José Luis Alcaine|
|Edited by||Mario Battistel|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Box office||$5.2 million|
The Dancer Upstairs is a 2002 Spanish-American crime thriller film produced and directed by John Malkovich (in his directorial debut), and starring Javier Bardem, Juan Diego Botto and Laura Morante. The film is an adaptation of the book The Dancer Upstairs by Nicholas Shakespeare, who also wrote the screenplay.
Lieutenant Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem), a policeman in the capital of an unnamed Latin American country, is assigned to investigate a series of violent incidents. Some are minor, some are more serious. They began in remote villages in recent years but are now starting to occur in or near the capital. All have two things in common - they target people in politics, and they are associated with a mysterious figure called President Ezequiel, who seems to be attempting to undermine the country's corrupt, ineffective government.
Rejas is married to a flighty, self-absorbed woman, but is increasingly attracted to Yolanda (Laura Morante), a dancer and the teacher of his teenage daughter's ballet class. The two are thrown together on a couple of occasions by the Ezequiel attacks. Rejas finds himself spending time with Yolanda as a way of relieving the stress of the investigation. The attraction is mutual, but the two stop short of having an affair - for now.
When Ezequiel's associates assassinate two major government officials in the capital, martial law is declared and the military takes the lead in the investigation. Rejas understands that unless he can find and stop Ezequiel, the government will rely more and more on the military for day to day security; the abuses that go with military rule will proliferate and ultimately destroy civil society. His dogged detective work unearths a crucial lead to the whereabouts of Ezequiel, but it takes him down a path that, even if he succeeds, will imperil both his personal and professional relationships.
- Javier Bardem as Detective Agustin Rejas
- Juan Diego Botto as Sucre
- Laura Morante as Yolanda
- Elvira Mínguez as Llosa
- Wolframio Sinué as Santiago
- Abel Folk as President Ezequiel
- Alexandra Lencastre as Sylvina Rejas
- Oliver Cotton as Merino
- Luís Miguel Cintra as Calderón
- Natalia Dicenta as Marina
- John Malkovich (uncredited) as Abimael Guzmán
The seized videotape is labeled "Estado de sitio"; this happens to be the Spanish title for the film State of Siege by Costa Gavras. There turns out to be an execution on the tape. Later, portions of Gavras' film itself are also seen on the tape.
The story is inspired by the Maoist terrorist group in Peru known as the Shining Path. Its leader Abimael Guzmán, who was known by the nom de guerre President Gonzalo, was captured in an apartment above a ballet studio in the capital Lima in 1992. The ballet teacher Yolanda was based on Maritza Garrido Lecca, the woman in whose apartment Guzmán was found. Bardem's character was inspired by Benedicto Jimenez and General Antonio Ketin Vidal, the leading figures responsible for Guzmán's capture.
Awards and accolades
- 2002 - Venice International Film Festival
- Won Rota Soundtrack Award for Alberto Iglesias
- 2002 - Chicago International Film Festival
- Nomination for the New Directors Competition at John Malkovich
- 2004 - Political Film Society
- Nomination for the PFS Award
- The Dancer Upstairs on IMDb
- The Dancer Upstairs at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Dancer Upstairs at AllMovie
- The Dancer Upstairs at Box Office Mojo
- The Dancer Upstairs at Metacritic
- Nicholas Shakespeare interview—Urban Cinefile editor, Andrew L. Urban's detailed write-up [biographically detailed]
- BBC Review
- Interview with John Malkovich
- on YouTube