HomeFilm'Bare' DVD review

‘Bare’ DVD review

‘Bare’ is a documentary film from Aleksandr M. Vinogradov that captures Belgian choreographer Thierry Smits as he puts together ‘Anima Ardens’, a dance piece featuring 11 naked men that aims to celebrate the nude male form and take away the stigma and negativity that often surrounds it. Not attempting to be provocative or controversial, Smits wants to offer a new perspective with his show that redefines how people see male nudity.

The documentary takes you from auditions through to the moment the show is about to be performed, and it’s an unusual watch to say the least. As Smits and his assistant take a number of men through auditions, there’s an uncomfortable scene captured where one dancer is heard asking why cameras are filming them naked. It seems odd that Smits wouldn’t disclose that to begin with and it sets an uneasy feeling of exploitation that is hard to shake for the rest of the film.

Bare
Credit: TLA Releasing

Director Aleksandr M. Vinogradov makes you feel like a voyeur, giving extreme close-ups of penises and bottoms throughout the duration of the film. At times you feel so close it’s a little too gratuitous. As the dancers improvise their way through routines, which include reimagining birth and renewal, the camera invades every available space to take you literally into the centre of the action. Unfortunately, that’s not altogether that exciting after the first thirty minutes. Instead the film feels repetitive, often not really contextualising what the viewer is seeing so your tolerance of improvisational dance, and nudity, will be tested.

Vinogradov tries to switch things up a little by introducing footage of the dancers interacting away from the rehearsal space. We don’t really get to know much about them though so it’s hard to care about their small talk. If we’d grown with the dancers and learned more about who they are as people, that connection could possibly have been formed. Particularly during the auditions, a fair amount of attention is paid to the dancers as they find out who is cut and who is selected, but they are hard to distinguish from one another as there’s no set-up to connect them with the viewer.

Bare
Credit: TLA Releasing

‘Bare’ is going to have limited appeal. You may find you’d rather just watch the full ‘Anima Ardens’ performance, which isn’t included here, but if you’re here purely for the nudity then you’ll likely get bored very quickly. ‘Bare’ is well put together but a lack of a narrative makes it hard to engage with. Instead you feel like a voyeur for 90 minutes, watching a show being created with little to no context as to what Smits or his dancers are trying to really achieve.

Bare
Credit: TLA Releasing

Cast: Thierry Smits, Jari Boldrini, Valentin Braun, Peter De Vuyst Director: Aleksandr M. Vinogradov Certificate: 18 Duration: 91 mins Released by: TLA Releasing Release date: 28th June 2021 Buy ‘Bare’ now

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Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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