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The Dancer Upstairs (film)

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Drama, Thriller, Crime

Music director
Alberto Iglesias

Spain United States



John Malkovich

Initial DVD release
June 30, 2004 (Norway)


The Dancer Upstairs (film) movie poster

English Quechua Spanish

Release date
11 January 2002 (2002-01-11) (Sundance) 6 September 2002 (2002-09-06) (Venice) 20 September 2002 (2002-09-20) (Spain) 2 May 2003 (2003-05-02) (United States)

Based on
The Dancer Upstairs  by Nicholas Shakespeare

Nicholas Shakespeare (novel), Nicholas Shakespeare (screenplay)

Initial release
September 20, 2002 (Spain)

Javier Bardem
(Agustín Rejas),
Juan Diego Botto
Laura Morante

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John malkovich 2003 the dancer upstairs trailer

The Dancer Upstairs is a 2002 Spanish-American crime thriller film produced and directed by John Malkovich (in his directorial debut), and starring Javier Bardem, Juan Diego Botto and Laura Morante. The film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Nicholas Shakespeare, who also wrote the screenplay.


The Dancer Upstairs (film) movie scenes


The Dancer Upstairs (film) movie scenes

Lieutenant Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem), a policeman in the capital of an unnamed Latin American country, is assigned to investigate a series of violent incidents. Some are minor, some are more serious. They began in remote villages in recent years but are now starting to occur in or near the capital. All have one thing in common - they are associated with a mysterious figure called President Ezequiel, who seems to be targeting or attempting to undermine the country's corrupt, ineffective government.

The Dancer Upstairs (film) movie scenes

Rejas is married to a flighty, self-absorbed woman, but is increasingly attracted to Yolanda (Laura Morante), a dancer and the teacher of his teenage daughter's ballet class. The two are thrown together on a couple of occasions by incidents connected with the Ezequiel attacks. Rejas finds himself spending time with Yolanda as a way of relieving the stress of the investigation. The attraction is mutual, but the two stop short of having an affair - for now.

The Dancer Upstairs (film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters31957p31957

When Ezequiel's associates assassinate two major government officials in the capital, martial law is declared and the military takes the lead in the investigation. Rejas understands that unless he can find and stop Ezequiel, the government will rely more and more on the military for day to day security, and the abuses that go with military rule will become worse and worse. His dogged detective work unearths a crucial lead to the whereabouts of Ezequiel, but it takes him down a path that, even if he succeeds, will imperil both his personal and professional relationships.


The Dancer Upstairs (film) The Dancer Upstairs Movie Poster 2 of 2 IMP Awards

  • Javier Bardem as Detective Agustin Rejas
  • Juan Diego Botto as Sucre
  • Laura Morante as Yolanda
  • Elvira Mínguez as Llosa
  • Wolframio Sinué as Santiago
  • Abel Folk as President Ezequiel
  • Alexandra Lencastre as Sylvina Rejas
  • Oliver Cotton as Merino
  • Luís Miguel Cintra as Calderón
  • Natalia Dicenta as Marina
  • John Malkovich (uncredited) as Abimael Guzmán
  • Production

    The Dancer Upstairs (film) Amazoncom The Dancer Upstairs Montserrat Astudillo Javier Bardem

    The film was shot in Porto, Portugal. The original theatrical release included a quick scene (about 2–3 seconds) of a map of Lima, Peru. This scene is deleted from the DVD release.

    The Dancer Upstairs (film) The Dancer Upstairs 2002 MUBI

    A lamppost sign reads: "When I hear the word culture, I reach for my pistol." This is a quotation usually mis-attributed to Nazi leader Hermann Göring.

    The Dancer Upstairs (film) FILM The Dancer Upstairs Ron Roizens blog

    The seized videotape is labeled "Estado de sitio"; this happens to be the Spanish title for the film State of Siege by Costa Gavras. There turns out to be an execution on the tape. Later, portions of Gavras' film itself are also seen on the tape.

    The Dancer Upstairs (film) Cineplexcom The Dancer Upstairs

    The wisecrack joke about "pubes on a coke can" is a reference to the Judge Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

    Historical basis

    The story is inspired by the Maoist terrorist group in Peru known as the Shining Path. Its leader Abimael Guzmán, who was known by the nom de guerre President Gonzalo, was captured in an apartment above a ballet studio in the capital Lima in 1992. The ballet teacher Yolanda was based on Maritza Garrido Lecca, the woman in whose apartment Guzmán was found. Bardem's character was inspired by Benedicto Jimenez and General Antonio Ketin Vidal, the leading figures responsible for Guzmán's capture.

    Awards and accolades

  • 2002 - Venice International Film Festival
  • Won Rota Soundtrack Award for Alberto Iglesias
  • 2002 - Chicago International Film Festival
  • Nomination for the New Directors Competition at John Malkovich
  • 2004 - Political Film Society
  • Nomination for the PFS Award
  • References

    The Dancer Upstairs (film) Wikipedia
    The Dancer Upstairs (film) IMDbThe Dancer Upstairs (film) Rotten TomatoesThe Dancer Upstairs (film) Amazon.comThe Dancer Upstairs (film) MetacriticThe Dancer Upstairs (film)

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