On Tour brought Mathieu Amalric the Best Director Award in Cannes. In the leading role of his own film, Amalric (with a moustache!) plays Joachim Zand, a failed manager. He returns from the United States to Paris and brings with him a troupe of American women and their burlesque show to tour the port cities on the West Coast of France.
In this, by definition, fragmentary road movie, the buxom female stars – plus one male stripper the shape of a jumping stick – dominate the stages as well as the shabby back stages. Meanwhile, the manager meets his children and his multiple exes after a long time. Zand feels alienated, and being in a way an outsider, he is ready for major sacrifices at the expense of both his health and the family he so longs for. A gifted actor, Amalric does a beautiful job in showing us the personal development and growth of the character that might, at first, just seem a somewhat repulsive mess of a man.
In the roles of the down-to-earth middle-aged female performers, we see real burlesque professionals in all their abruptness. Amalric got his inspiration for the film from the memoirs of Colette, a burlesque star who lived in the beginning of the 20th century. He was also inspired by John Cassavetes, the director who is known for focusing on the actors and relying on improvisation. Amalric’s film is filled with satirical humour as the touring troupe faces several obstacles and difficulties. Business gets the measure of the cabaret performers’ independence and liberty in a bittersweet way. (Timo Malmi)