Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This humorous documentary is as much about itself and how it got made as it is about its ostensible subject, the mounting of Andre Heller's stage musical Body and Soul in Berlin. The musical is to feature black performers and U.S. black culture. The documentary is to be another Fame, and is just part of the creation of "the biggest theatrical event in the history of the world," with a budget of over a million dollars. That's a lot of money for a documentary. Soon enough, the budget is slashed, the director is quarrelling with his screenwriter, and the filming of the musical's rehearsals is interfering with the rehearsal process. Even the stage production is having money problems, and chaos rules supreme. In one case, a camera hits one of the stars on the head; in another, the film's light demands blows the fuses in the rehearsal hall. Heated discussions follow, especially after one of the German coordinators confesses that he hates black people, with two exceptions: blues singers and rap artists. Onstage, conflicts and quarrels abound as well. However, along with the humor of people behaving very badly, the luminous and breathtaking performances of the assorted breakdancers, gospel singers, blues artists and jazz musicians keeps the film lively.
argument, behind-the-scenes, Black [race], choreographer, conflict, ego, film-crew, making-of, megalomania, musical [play], problems, production [showbiz], rehearsal