Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Noir Art Of The Week

Kim Cogan


Richard Linder

Glen Orbik

Kim Cogan


Gina Higgins




Signed Above


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Dancing at The Blue Iguana (2000) Experimental Ensemble Neo Noir

Written and directed by Michael Radford. 

The stylish Cinematography was by Ericson Core and Music by Tal Bergman and Renato Neto. 

Sheila Kelley originally conceived the idea for this film. It was supposed to be a story about incest between her character and the character played by Elias Koteas. (IMDb trivia)

Staring Sandra Oh as Jasmine, Charlotte Ayanna as Jessie, Kristin Bauer as Nico, W. Earl Brown as Bobby,
Daryl Hannah as Angel, Chris Hogan as Dennis, Sheila Kelley as Stormy, Elias Koteas as Sully, Vladimir
Mashkov as Sacha, Rodney Rowland as Charlie, Jennifer Tilly as Jo, Robert Wisdom as Eddie.

Daryl Hannah as Angel

Sandra Oh as Jasmine

Jennifer Tilly as Jo

Charlotte Ayanna as Jessie

Sheila Kelley as Stormy

Robert Wisdom as Eddie

Vladimir Mashkov as Sacha

Elias Koteas as Sully

Eddie with W. Earl Brown as Bobby rt.

Here is an interesting Experiential Noir. Radford's concept was to have the actresses invent their own
characters and backstories as dancers in a Valley strip club, and then have the interact with each other
backstage. He films as they adlib there way through a couple of weeks at the Blue Iguana. Each lady has
an emotional or traumatic event as part of her story arc. The backstage dramas of the dressing room are
nicely punctuated by impressive exotic dancing by the actresses. They quite obviously did a lot research
into the some what dysfunctional lives of exotic dancers for their parts, and put a lot of effort into
choreographing their own dance routines.

"Much of the criticism of "Blue Iguana" is based on the fact that it was made without a script.
The actors started with only two things: the title of the film and the fact that it was set in a strip club.
Everything else, they worked out themselves - their characters, their storylines, and their
dialogue - in an intense series of improvisational workshops. This approach may be unconventional,
but it gives "Blue Iguana" a freshness and immediacy which is rarely found in mainstream films.
As Michael Radford explains, improv relies on nailing the scene in the first take; once it becomes
too polished, it loses its sense of realism." (IMDb - redpanda12 January 2002)

The Players

Angel the ditsy baby doll blonde dreams of having a child of her own or becoming a foster mother though
she can barely take care of herself.

Jo the Goth girl has anger management issues, and a bun in the oven and wants an abortion.

Jasmine writes poetry, spends her quality time at the library, finds a boyfriend but then looses him when first he says he doesn't mind her exotic work but then changes his tune after he sees her routine at the club. 

Jesse is the youngest of the group, she has an abusive boyfriend who beats her and drives her to drink to fight off her depression. 

Stormy a quiet brunette is playing hide the sausage with her own brother, Sully and apparently likes it.


Five stories of le petit noir with no real denouement to any of them. Also in the mix are  Robert Wisdom as the hip and tres cool strip club owner, Eddie. His character actually gives a shit about his gals while at the same time cracking the whip when he has to. Eddies assistant/bouncer is Bobby who manages the Blue Iguana. The Club also books "porn star" talent in the persona of Nico played by Kristin Bauer. 

Kristin Bauer as Nico

There is another aside story of a Russian hit man staying at a hot sheet hotel next door to the club. He peeps upon and becomes smitten with the tragic Angel he sees outside in the alley beside the club, and she with his anonymous gifts of attention.


Radford presents us with a compelling film that keeps your interest. The players interwoven stories are a showcase for their acting talents and range. Its also filled with wonderful vignettes ranging from humorous to tragic with some that are magically both at the same time. 

Angel trying to adopt a child. Jo getting into a confrontation with an expectant mother...

Jo: You think you're the only person with reproductive organs. I'm gonna have this fucking baby. I'm gonna have this baby and my baby is gonna sell drugs to your baby on the playground. Do you know that. You fucking bitch.

Angel asking a cop to help her take a selfie with her billboard image...

Angel: [Whistling and waving] Officer? Officer, could... could you help me with... I... Could you help take a picture of my... I want to take a picture of myself in front of this billboard.

Officer Pete Foster: Is that you?

Angel: Yeah.

Officer Pete Foster: Really.

Angel: I'm a lot smaller in person.

Then there is a hilarious sequence where a drunk Jessie interrupts Jo during one of her dominatrix gigs. 

Its just a snapshot of the lives of strippers and like reality you never know what the next, minute, hour, or day will bring, anybody watching this for a typical story arc or happy ending will be disappointed its Noirsville. 8/10

Soundtrack Credits 

Amazing Grace Performed by Charlotte Ayanna, Arms of a Stranger Performed by Ali Handal, She Pulls the Chain Performed by Three Time Loser, Wish from the Original Soundtrack "Run, Lola Run" Performed by Franka Potente & Thomas D (as Thomas Duerr), Come Back Performed by Sloan, Les Misery Performed by Anoushka Fisz and David A. Stewart (as Dave Stewart), SEX A.M. Performed by Charlotte Ayanna, Angel Performed by Marianne Faithfull and David A. Stewart (as Dave Stewart), The Lamb, Performed by Artemis, So Cold Performed by The Newlydeads, Submission Performed by The Newlydeads, Gimme One More Shot Written and Performed by Scott Nickoley (as Scott Nickeley) and Jamie Dunlap (as Jamie Dunlop), World Keeps Spinning Performed by Porkpie (as Courtesy of Porkpie), I Saw the Sun Performed by Mother Superior, Hours Before Light Performed by Bocephus King, Dance Me to the End of love, Performed by Leonard Cohen, Recognition Performed by The Step Kings, Going Upstairs Performed by Queen Sylvia Embry, Pussycat Moan Performed by Katie Webster, Where I Come From Performed by Tom Anderson, Looking for Answers Performed by Susan Tedeschi, Battle Flag Performed by Pigeonhed, Porcelain Performed by Moby, Lips Like Sugar, Performed by Echo & The Bunnymen, Sparklestar Performed by Bubble, River of Tears Performed by Eric Clapton, Unbound Performed by Robbie Robertson.