Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Just Like I Thought

Out of a misplaced sense of social nicety, most people feel obliged to pretend that they hate saying "I told you so". As for me, I am always delighted to rub various noses in the foul stench of my prescience whenever possible.

Way back in April 2011 I reported on the in-production Just Like A Woman, a Sienna Miller vehicle for which Miller had not read the script before signing on, which was about a woman who runs away from her Sad ExistenceTM to become a belly dancer. 

Plainly in the grip of a caffeine headache, I thumped out the following considered opinion:
"I'll bet my hip scarves that belly dance will not be afforded the same modicum of respect as ballet, in as much as no 'body double' who actually knows how to do the dance justice will be employed to make Miller look good."
Well, the film is now actually A Thing That Exists. Respect -- seriously. I'm reading Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures and it is kind of amazing that any movie ever gets made, let alone released. I guess it helps that Rachid Bouchareb has an Oscar nomination to swing around.

Back to the movie in hand. There are at least two trailers for it. Let's compare and contrast, shall we? Here's the 4-minute plus version for the European market. (Yes, it's waa-aay too long):

And here's the sub-minute version for the US market, sans subtitles:

Interesting, innit? These look like trailers for two totally different movies!

I marvel that for some inexplicable reason Sienna is THE ONLY ONE her teacher could POSSIBLY put forward for that OBVIOUSLY ELITE dance troupe in Santa Fe. (Thank you, expository dialogue!)

FOR THE LOVE OF KANYE, people. He has a room full of students and presumably didn't start teaching the day Sienna walked into his studio, but even so she is his star pupil. (If he ever stumbles across a malfunctioning Henry vacuum cleaner spinning in circles he's going to think he's discovered the next Bozenka.)

I mean, I could sit here and rage some more about the poor dancing on display in these clips. Or the racist assumption that "all Arab women", like "all black people", are inherently good dancers. But I don't need to, because poor Yuska over at the Pink Coinbelt Chronicles has already seen this film and writes a very good, even-handed review of it that I highly recommend.


  1. Maybe you're looking at this the wrong way. It's busting another stereotype, namely that being of Arab descent doesn't mean you know enough to act like an expert in the dance culture of another Arabic country, especially the ins and outs of how it gets exported as professional belly dance in a third place. This is why I don't make movies about what it's like to be a chef in a French restaurant in Japan, ya know?

  2. Oh, dear Lord: Sienna Miller. Thanks for reminding me that she didn't read the script.

    Also, thanks for the plug. I'm so frustrated right now.

    By the way, have you seen the Turkish/German movie "Zenne Dancer"?

  3. Thank you Yuska for reminding me of this film's existence! And I haven't seen Zenne Dancer -- is it any good?

    And 'Anonymous': I'm prepared to accept that, but it means I'd need to see the film to see whether or not that's really what the imparted message is. Drat!