Film Micrœview #131: All That Jazz (1979)

09.15.2014 § Leave a comment

All That Jazz

Rating: Good.

From its stunning opening sequence, through its well-paced core, to its clinging, fading, interminable conclusion, All That Jazz is a powerful, moving, engaging entertainment experience.

Angel of death, not being able to tell where the bullshit ends: Fellini’s 8½ (same DP) meets Cocteau’s Orpheus. Influence on Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream’s shoot-up sequences, and the lost art of Black Swan’s darkness showbiz.

The continuum between Fosse’s passion for editing and choreography is made clear: he choreographs cuts as part of the performance, its motion and posture. The most filmic dancing ever.

Yet I was almost more compelled by the sound design. In particular the scene where they read his new script, sound heard as if conducted through his skull, bridging the entire script between the first irreverent line and the final hammy one… incredible.

The barely-semi autobiographical protagonist is afraid he’s only ordinary. I think he accepts that he is, for there is nothing apparently other than ego and kinetic energy propelling him. The apparent reflexive jabs at his friends (“maybe I’ll use that”) and family involved (or specifically not, Hoffman) in the project only add to this.

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