All that work. All that glitter. All that pain. All that love. All that crazy rhythm. All that jazz.”

All That Jazz is a 1979, Bob Fosse musical picture. It has a little bit of drama, comedy and plenty of fantasy. Written by Robert Allan Arthur and Bob Fosse, himself; it stars actors Roy Scheider, playing Joe Gideon, the main character; Jessica Lange and Leland Palmer. It was internationally acclaimed in the 1980’s Oscar ceremony, when it won 4 Oscars for: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Adaption Score. Besides those, it won also 6 awards and was nominated for 11 other.

Through the eyes of Director and Choreographer Bob Fosse, All That Jazz tells the story of his life, as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer. The film begins with Joe’s daily routine: waking up to the sound of classical music, taking an aspirin, putting a couple of eye drops and taking a shower with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. This is the way Gideon leads with the daily stresses of being a dancer/ choreographer and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In the next scene, Gideon is at the dance studio selecting, in a brutally honest way, which dancers are going to “make the cut” in his new show. While doing this, you can see he has his ex-wife, Audrey, played by Leland Palmer (also a former dancer) and daughter, Michelle (Erzsebet Foldi) sitting in the back, watching someone who is so important to them. We get the impression, throughout the movie, that without Audrey and Michelle’s support, Joe would have already been dead by now. Audrey and Joe’s relationship went down the drain since he was a lying cheating womanizer. Another important female in his life, is his girlfriend, Kate Jagger (Ann Reinking) who shows us how amazingly well she can dance, all through the film. Although not being very present in Michelle’s life, Joe and Michelle get along pretty swell. The special moments shared between them are naturally through dance. In the next scene, we see Joe and his guardian angel, Angelique (played by the lovely Jessica Lange), who also works as his conscious, confronting him with personal questions. Besides choreographing and picking dancers for his new show, Gideon is editing his feature film about a standup comic and these two time-consuming projects are getting the best of him. Expectably, Joe ends up having a nervous breakdown and has to be hospitalized but he continues to chain-smoke and sneakily involves himself with some nurses. He is so strained from his work, he starts hallucinating with certain episodes from his life, Angelique always showing up and giving him advice. While scenes from his past are creeping up on him, in the present, and his subconscious balancing itself, reminding him of all the harm he caused to his loved ones, the world continues to evolve. Like they say in show business: “The show must go on!” so his staff pressures the big shots, in order, for the show to still go on, with its choreographer recovering in the hospital. Gideon becomes increasingly aware of his mortality – he thinks he is going to die. Still, he does not shut out his addictions: women, drugs and tobacco.

One aspect that characterizes this movie and which earned it an Oscar is its wonderful, whimsical costumes that took it to another level in the dancing/musical world. In some scenes of the movie, many of the dancers aren’t wearing much clothes at all which was something ahead of its time. For example, in the “Airotica” scene, the lack of clothes on the dancers could give it a derogatory, even sleazy appeal, however Fosse’s talent for the visual effects of dance in a movie, gives it a sensual fluidity that makes you feel as if you’re there.

Another aspect of the filmmaking that moved me was the filmmaking itself. I had never seen a Bob Fosse movie before and felt completely enthralled in Joe’s story, probably because the movie portrays his life and his experience in the dance business. There’s a very sensitive and naïve sense of taste in Fosse’s work and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. He is a true craftsman at his work and I found his ravishing, impulsive, obsessive way of living through dance quite impressive.

This movie is the true tale of a workaholic dancer. And if dance isn’t anything other than a way of expressing ourselves through movement then I think Fosse did an excellent job at reflecting this. You are living through Fosse’s creative, imaginative whirl winded life as you watch the film and get to feel skin deep whatever he is. This autobiographic movie is very entertaining and I think will appeal to the younger crowd, especially people who love the arts.