The Dancer Upstairs

Release Date: May 2, 2003
Limited release

I wonder if my moustache makes me look like a porn star.

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Actor John Malkovich makes his directorial debut with this picture. He had previous experience as a stage director with the Steppenwolf Theater Company, but this is his first time to take this role from stage to screen. Screenwriter Nicholas Shakespeare makes his writing debut with this movie by translating his book of the same name to film.

The story is loosely based on Shakespeare's experiences as a journalist while reporting on the search for Abimael Guzman. If you're not familiar with Guzman, he was the leader of a Peruvian terrorist group named The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso).

In this film, we narrow our focus down to police officer Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem), who is trying to track down Ezequiel (Abel Folk), the notorious leader of a terrorist group. He has been searching for the elusive Ezequiel for 12 years and is starting to lose focus. He meets his young daughter's dance teacher and it changes his life. However, he must keep his thoughts to himself since he is still married, but he increasingly has thoughts about giving in to his secret desires. This also gives him reason to keep on searching for the criminal.

This film was made with a budget of about $4.5 million and had its premiere at opening night of the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Fox Searchlight Pictures was so impressed that they picked up the distribution rights to bring it to US audiences. (Marty Doskins/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Dancer Upstairs
Main Cast Javier Bardem, Laura Morante, Juan Diego Botto, Alexandra Lancastre, Elvira Minguez, Lucas Rodriguez, Javier Manrique, Marie-Anne Berganza, Abel Folk, Jose Antonio Izaguirre, Oliver Cotton
Director John Malkovich
Screenwriter Nicholas Shakespeare
Distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures
Rating R
Running Time 133 minutes
Screen Count 13
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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