film 33 of 103

Fatima, Muscle Dancer

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 27, 2015

From the theatricality/artificiality of the Black Maria to the theatricality/ artificiality of an actual stage. These films are taking great steps, though sometimes they’re stepping as much to the side as they are stepping forward.

This one’s famous, of course, for the musical staff lines that were printed horizontally over Fatima’s most provocative parts, for the entire duration of the film. (Clothed parts, in case you’re wondering.) To us, of course, this just seems funny, and silly. Maybe, even certainly. But it’s helpful to try and understand why. As for censoring impulse, you can see what they were thinking. This woman is definitely fibrillating, both above and below. More than that, she’s really put herself out there, unashamed and very vivid.  Here’s the thing.  Where’s the harm, and why the shame?  It’s like belly dancing—there’s so much more here than provocation or erotic display.  It’s her body, after all.  Of course, the fact that it’s on a stage, presented, no doubt, for gawking males, pulls it back into those conventional interpretive precincts.