Month: October 2023

Living and Singing in Nazi Germany

Cabaret Full Movie Review

Cabaret is a stunning movie musical, one of the best ever made. It shows how people continue to live their lives in the face of encroaching fascism and war.

Flamboyant American cabaret singer Sally Bowles and British language teacher Brian Roberts navigate their relationship against the backdrop of Nazi Germany in this groundbreaking and iconic film.

Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli)

In Cabaret, Minnelli delivers a tour de force performance as Sally Bowles, the star of Berlin’s seedy Kit Kat Club. She is backed by the ever-impressive Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies, who effortlessly fuses the play’s vaudevillian style of camp with an old-timey jazz score. The musical numbers are the heart of this film, and Fosse’s camera gives viewers a front-row seat to experience them in all their kaleidoscopic splendor.

Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novella of the same name, Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera, and Kander and Ebb’s music, Sally Bowles is a show-stopper. A hedonistic caricature of a cabaret singer, she is a character with both lightness and darkness.

In addition to stealing the scene whenever she is on screen, Minnelli’s Sally is also a natural at singing and dancing. Her spirited personality makes it easy to understand why this role earned her an Oscar. It’s no wonder that Bob Fosse considered her his most memorable directorial effort to date.

Brian Roberts (Michael York)

It’s half a century since Cabaret first sashayed into cinemas, and its depressing themes of moral decadence remain just as potent today. The film’s slyly humorous and evocative songs serve a double purpose, providing entertainment while commenting on the dark issues beneath the surface.

Cambridge University student Brian Roberts moves into a cheap Berlin boarding house and befriends American club singer Sally Bowles, who works the Kit Kat Klub’s seedy strip bar. Sally’s outward flamboyance and sexual prowess are matched by her intellectual curiosity, and they become close friends.

Brian and Sally begin a romantic relationship, but the film takes an unexpected turn when Brian bangs the rich, aristocratic Baron Maximilian and enters a closed homosexual triad. This was one of the film’s first mainstream depictions of male bisexuality and was a watershed moment in queer representation on screen. With the sexy, risqué musical numbers, acerbic script and stunning performances from Liza Minnelli and Michael York, it’s no wonder Cabaret earned eight Academy Award nominations.

Baron Max von Heune (Helmut Griem)

While Cabaret avoids showing two men kiss, its songs and drama about social collapse center on sexual transgression. Helmut Griem -who is blessed with matinee idol looks and a strong erotic confidence- was no stranger to such roles. He is the suave baron, Maximilian von Heune, who seduces Sally and Brian. He has blond hair, a mustache, and an appetitive gap-tooth smile.

The movie is set during the closing days of the Weimar Republic in Germany and the rise of Nazism. Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) is an effusive singer at the seedy Kit Kat club while English PhD candidate Brian Roberts (Michael York) makes his living by teaching private lessons to locals for three marks an hour. They are roommates and romantic partners who fall in love. But their relationship is tested when they are showered with presents from the rich and suave Max von Heune. Can they stand against fascism together? Or will they be torn apart by their own desires?

Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey)

A young American (Brian Roberts) in Berlin takes a job in a Kit Kat club run by a sleazy, sinister emcee, while Nazi Germany’s power is growing. The film’s razzle-dazzle musical numbers and Oscar-winning score capture the tumultuous atmosphere of a world that’s changing rapidly and for the worse.

The stage and screen legend Joel Grey, 83, whose performance as the impish Master of Ceremonies in Bob Fosse’s classic film Cabaret won him a Tony and an Academy Award, opens up about his long and storied career onstage and in front of the camera. He’s here with Terry Gross to talk about his new memoir, Master of Ceremonies.

Throughout the book, he recounts his own sexual awakening as well as his complicated relationship with his parents. We’ll hear about the revelations that inspired the characters he created, and how the emcee in Cabaret helped him to discover a new way of being. JOEL GREY: (Singing) Willkommen, bienvenue, fremder, etranger, stranger, glucklich zu sehen, je suis enchanté, bleibe, rest, stay.

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Montreal’s Cabaret L’Enfer: A Haunting Culinary Experience

Cabaret L’Enfer Opens in Montreal

After a few years of perfecting his craft at Le Mousso, chef Massimo Piedimonte is ready to open Cabaret l’enfer. A Montreal restaurant modeled after the famous cabaret in Montmartre, it promises a performance like no other.

Customers rave about the food and service at this spot. They also love the pretty atmosphere.


The menu is a nod to both the city’s French roots and its Italian ones, with items like burrata paired with black currant oil, beef tartare with Carta Di Musica (traditional Sardinian crackers) and ravioli stuffed with lobster, fava beans and raspberry leaves. For drinks, Piedimonte has enlisted mixologue Emile Archambault and sommelier Frederic Letourneau.

This is the first restaurant from chef Massimo Piedimonte, who has a reputation for perfection and a knack for finding new talent to work with. He comes to Cabaret l’Enfer after years at Le Mousso, where he was one of the most ferocious kitchen leaders in Montreal. He and his team — Santiago Alonso as chef de cuisine, Edouard Belanger as sous-chef, Etienne Charlebois as sommelier, Emile Archambault as mixologue and Glenn Hoffman as manager — have been working on this project for years, through delays and pandemic interruptions. It’s finally opening in spring 2021.


Guests of this Montmartre venue can expect a spooky experience that is both gastronomic and atmospheric. In the style of an abandoned Parisian theatre meets a grotesque Ossuary, this restaurant is sure to send a chill down your spine.

When it comes to food, Piedimonte draws from his French culinary training and Italian heritage for the menu. Expect burrata with black currant oil, beef tartare paired with Carta Di Musica, and ravioli or agnolotti made with ricotta and hazelnuts.

The restaurant’s name is a tribute to the cabaret l’enfer of 1890s Paris, which featured an entrance in the shape of a grotesque mouth. It was next door to a Heaven-themed cafe, and both became renowned for macabre spectacles and performances that were unlike anything the City of Lights had seen at the time. The Parisian venues have since disappeared, but the cabaret’s facade is now a Monoprix supermarket.


In a time when the bizarre was the norm, cabaret l’enfer was a place to indulge in sensuous and grotesque performances. Founded in 1892 near Montmartre, this unique venue aspired to be more than just entertainment; it was a portal into the underbelly of Paris—a hellish wonderland with an entrance resembling the gaping jaws of Leviathan symbolizing damnation.

Visitors were greeted by the Devil’s doorman who urged them to “Enter and be Damned!” In addition, there was a diabolical floor show where a man dressed as Mephistopheles would frighten patrons. Other performances incorporated acrobatics, juggling and a series of rapid tableaux that depicted the agonies of death.

The cabaret closed in 1925, but its hellish facade at 53 Boulevard de Clichy survived until the 1950s when it was razed to make way for a Monoprix supermarket. Fortunately, photographs taken by Eugene Atget and Robert Doisneau—as well as a shot by Harry C. Ellis, an American photographer who captured everyday occupations and street scenes—documented the illuminating spectacle.


Unlike some Montmartre cafes that were macabre in nature, l’Enfer’s titillating performances danced on the edge of societal acceptability. This ambiance was accentuated by the fact that the cabaret’s entrance resembled the gaping jaws of Leviathan, symbolizing damnation.

This imposing entrance, captured in the photograph above by Eugene Atget, was emblematic of the eerie allure that surrounded The Cabaret de l’Enfer. Jules Claretie noted that future historians of the Belle Epoque “could not silently pass by these cabarets, which put Dante’s poem within walking distance.”

Massimo plans to continue the restaurant’s ethos, introducing new wine selections and hiring Raphaelle Berube, a talented sommelier known for her work at Le Mousso and Candide, as director of the bar. This will help to focus the venue’s ethos on the quality and variety of wines offered to guests. He also hopes to entrust another member of the team with the responsibility of developing a list primarily composed of natural and biodynamic wines.

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