By Lisa Kennedy
In “Strip Down, Rise Up,” an attendee of S Factor’s beginning pole dance course admits to her fellow students that the class is nothing like what she thought it would be. “When I showed up, I wasn’t scared,” the woman tells those gathered in a circle. “Now I’m a little scared.” In her welcoming remarks, S Factor founder Sheila Kelley promised that might happen. Whether Amber, the pert, fit newbie, will stick with the L.A. studio’s six-month course remains to be seen.
She’s right, though. The class at the heart of “Strip Down, Rise Up,” upends expectations. So does director-producer Michèle Ohayon’s cinema verité movie. Debuting on Netflix (where the subject might attract the wrong kind of audience, or precisely those who’d connect with it most), the doc is poignant, surprising and deftly reawakens questions about “patriarchy” — not by being a pole-dancing polemic but by foregrounding its characters’ experiences.
Read the full review on Variety.com.