Recently released French Netflix film “Let’s Dance,” produced by Uni France, explores the relationship of aspiring dancers to seemingly contrasting dance forms: hip-hop and ballet. Reminding American audiences of the early 2000’s “Step Up” movies, this French counterpart does not play on dance clichés but does fall into a few Parisian ones.
The film focuses on hip-hop dancers Joseph (played by Rayane Bensetti) and Karim (played by Mehdi Kerkouche) who come to Paris from a provincial town to compete in a dance competition. After Joseph’s girlfriend dumps him, the two young men are left with nowhere to go except to the home of Remi, a man Joseph knows.
Joseph decides to mount his own dance crew for the competition. While he struggles to become a choreographer, Remi enlists him as a teacher at the ballet school to teach the students about loose form and street-style dancing. It is in that period Joseph meets Chloe (played by Alexia Giordano,) an aspiring ballerina fixed on traditional dance forms.
Instead of focusing on a typical enemies-because-we’re-competitors behavior, “Let’s Dance” emphasizes the actual art forms and human feelings. We see each of the characters going through personal challenges and revealing three-dimensional human characteristics. All this set against the beautiful Parisian landscape and you’ve got yourself the perfect evening show.
During one particular moment, Joseph takes a run on the Île aux Cygnes, lives in a perfectly-French apartment, and even goes to the Palais Garnier to watch ballet with Chloe and her grandmother. These are elements a Francophile dreams of, and put together in one film, “Let’s Dance” is the romantic movie with real millennial characters living in the middle of Paris — minus the realities of the chambre-de-bonne, lack of cash, and bar hopping. But sometimes an idealized Paris with a romantic storyline is exactly what you need a cold-winter’s night .
Watch “Let’s Dance” on Netflix here (in French with English subtitles).