Anthony W. Johnson, the founder of BALLET MAGIQUE®, brings prowess, design, and experience to the screen with his motion picture Alexis Colette. An obscure and alluring tale of secrecy, the ‘film’s plot has plenty of twists, turns, and misconceptions. Dynamic pretextual layers emerge in a dance-action elevated thriller, moving the story at a riveting pace.
The film is an innovative masterpiece, fusing its adventure on 35mm film vs. digital medium, a profound combination of motion picture aesthetics. This movie marks a mood of naiveté, fatalism, and illusion, which Johnson calls “the new film noir.”
Alexis Colette is a beautiful, passionate, and thought-provoking film with a unique plot. The tale delves intensely into the perception of spirits. The movie sheds light on the Tibetan-Buddhist belief that when a person dies, they enter the intermediate “Bardo” state, where they may be trapped inside the shadow world in a hollowed body, in either one of the paradise realms or one of the hells.
Eventually, the person can die in this afterlife ecosphere and be reborn as a human or another creature unless they achieve Nirvana, where they are beyond all states of embodiment.
“The author went through insurmountable pain while writing Alexis Colette. Johnson further explains, “Of course, multiculturalism and racism became vital components, but I did not want only to tell that story. Alexis Colette and its truth came down to money and power—the willpower from God to overcome them all.”
“When we explore gender-bending, multiculturalism, and the quest for psychic revelations, we live in what we call “illusion,” “the prestige,” or “double.” Johnson also says, “This saga is much more intricate than a mere ghost story, as specters have no idea that they are scary.” Finally, we begin to face our true selves in the 5th Bardo, where we must choose life or death inside of a terrifying prism questioning the truth.
The character named “Director” introduces us to this plane— the “Bardo.” The 4th Bardo is where parts of our mind awaken and nearly halt. However, in the 5th Bardo, we must face ourselves and others— memories, lies, truths, and ultimately, the Choice: whether to live or die. Though the movie postulates a distinctive realm for hell, “the true nightmare,” which is the notion of what happens when one is not afraid?
According to Johnson, Alexis Colette seems like a period piece, but it is not. Although it intertwines the late 1920s with the early 1950s and the present, Eric, the main character, is constant. The movie draws inspiration from Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who was mononymously known as Colette. She was a French author and woman of letters and a mime, dancer, actress, and journalist. Colette is best remembered for her 1944 novella Gigi, the basis for the 1958 film and the 1973 stage production of the same name.
Johnson believes that Colette lived her entire life under a manly demeanor. Colette felt guilty for not being forthcoming about her inner truth as a mulatto woman, and that guilt haunted her even after her death. If Colette’s dreams were deemed authentic, the serial killers she professed to understand in her writings would become traumatizing apparitions for her in the afterlife. Johnson feels that this motion picture will fulfill her story.
Alexis Colette is a suspenseful musical movie with sensual music and phenomenal dance sequences that break up the monotony of the typical thriller. In addition, Johnson takes great pride in bringing black and brown ballet dancers, who danced primarily only for white companies, to screen for the first time.
Alexis Colette is about the precarious layers that we, as individuals, black or white, put on and label ourselves with to find some semblance of hope.
Johnson wrote most of the songs himself, garnering the likes of Budd Carr, the music supervisor for World Trade Center. The film has attracted many talents, including Brendan Galvin, the director of photography for Westworld.
In addition, Johnson is working with Han Lixun, the chief set designer for the Opening & Closing 2008 Beijing Olympics ceremonies, and Art Director, Nicolas LePage (300) on a dynamic production design. The film also includes Alex Elena, the Grammy Award-winning music producer for Alice Smith; Steve Baughman, the Grammy Award Winning producer for Eminem; and Ian Arber, the composer for Mission Impossible.
Alexis Colette’s costume designer is Christos Andriopoulos, the Creative Patternmaker of Alexander McQueen. The film’s executive producers include Franco Sama, whose credits include Guns, Girls and Gambling, and Games of Aces, not to mention Stanley Grabowski, a well-known author.
As Nola Roeper writes in her review, “Anthony has a vision, style, and a point of view that is novel, nouveau and unheard, and most importantly, never seen before.”