It seems as though there was a period in American dance history, where quite a few exceptional ballet dancers defected from Russia to the U.S. Nijinksy, Baryshnikov, Panov, Godunov and Rudolph Nureyev, who was the first to defect while on tour with his company – the Kirov Ballet.
The year is 1938 and the Cold Ward hit the USSR. Rudolph Nureyev is pursuing a career in the ballet. Considered old at 17, his teachers classified him as clumsy, lacked discipline, imperfect, yet they knew he was brilliant. Cut to years later, Nureyev overhears one of the tour ballet directors say ‘Nureyev is not coming to London.’ It was decided that due to hi political activities the KGB considered him a security risk.
Directed by Ralph Fiennes, The White Crow is a harshly beautiful tribute to one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time. Born on a train and abandoned as a young boy in the woods by his own father, you begin to understand the cold, emotional disconnect of Rudolph. It is only when he dances the icy exterior melts away. Inspired by the Julie Cavanugh novel, ‘Rudolph Nureyev: The Life, details around the aloof dancer are revealed concerning his bi-sexual nature and his little to no patience for women or anyone who doesn’t agree with him.
Oleg Ivanko is perfect as Nureyev and bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Mikahil Baryshnikov.
Adèle Exarchopoulos as Clara Saint, the women who assists Nureyev in achieving asylum is fantastic. She straddles that line of being powerful and vulnerable perfectly. Ralph Fiennes is inhabiting the role of Rudolph’s mentor – Pushkin, who has his own shortcomings dealing with a wife with a wandering eye for younger, more virile men. When she sets her sights get set on Nureyev, Pushkin turns a blind eye for the sake of art. The pacing tends to be a little laborious in some spots, but the film is exquisitely shot with some amazing dances sequences.
If you are a lover of ballet and its history, The White Crow (produced by BBC Films and Sony Pictures Classics) will absolutely fill your appetite as it opens in selected cities TODAY.