What a fantastic tribute to dance, to creation, to the fact of reinventing oneself after a hard blow ! Cedric Kalpisch delivers a beautiful film reinventing his own cinema, making it "rise" to a high standard of aesthetics, which was not his best point so far.
First of all, let me underline the fact there is a clear pun in the French title "en corps" which would mean "into the body" or "by the body"... and again and again which is said "encore" in French.
For those who don't know much about the director of "en corps", Cedric Kalpisch has been a huge and popular French director of funny comedies in the 90's and the 00's. Some of Cedric Klapisch's main films became cult movies for my generation: The Good Old Daze, Family Ressemblances, or the Erasmus cult film called "Pot Luck" in 2002. Since then, it has been very difficult for him to renew his style, and reach his prime again.
For the first time in two decades, he's managed to find a new theme, a new style and has made a pleasant, interesting and beautiful film. That's why I allow myself a little review about it because it's really worth this time.
The film focuses on the physical, mental and sentimental reconstruction of its heroine, Elise, an injured dancer who must invent herself again at the age of 26. One of the feature of the film is the portrait of this heartbroken dancer, who is wisely played by Marion Barbeau who is quite convincing as a beginner actress . Another feature is of course the way he depicts the dance and the creation of contemporary dance, the energy of the dance itself, the freshness of the young dancers and their relation with classical dance. It's really fascinating and the participation of the Israeli dancer, Hofesh Shechter, is really a brilliant input.
The complex and suprising recovery of the main character reminds us that Cedric Klapisch knows how to portray complex, sensitive characters with broken and disturbed destinies. Despite a rather simple plot, you get surprises along the way and genuine laughters.
Her bleak fate (at the beginning) is enlightened by funny appeareances and the help of experienced actors such as François Civil (her physiotherapist) who is just hilarious,but also Pio Marmaï (the cooker) or Bruno Podalydès, (her father) who provide welcome humour, as well as depth in the story and above all they allow to have some hope for the rest of the film.
Klapisch really surprised me with the way he depicts the art of choreography (it's absolutely magnificient) in its various forms, aestitically speaking but most importantly respecting a fluidity in the film that allows us to be captivated by Eloise's fate throughout the film and understand it through dance moves.
En corps ("rise) is a fine way for Klapisch to renew himself, without denying himself. I am convinced it will be remembered as one of his most important films.