‘The White Crow’ portrays the truth about Nureyev, the perpetual outsider | Film news


Dancer Rudolf Nureyev was perpetually an outsider, and his mystery as a human and a dancer – as shown in the film directed by Ralph Fiennes The white crow – allowed him to become the many characters he played during his career. (The nickname ‘White Crow’ is related to the label of ‘Black Sheep’: the intruder, the curiosity of a herd.)

My grandmother was a great lover of literature, the arts and ballet. When I was treated to a stay at “Nanny Moira”, I slept in a room lined with books and videotapes. Among the collection of dance videos were several documentaries and performances by Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. My grandmother and I watched them for hours. I loved the costumes, the grace and the synchronicity of the dancers, the passionate faces of the close-up dancers, the complex scenographies and the fact that my nan discovered a common language with me: ballet. Nureyev and Fonteyn embodied the art of dance for my young mind, and decades later they still do. Only, not as romantic creatures whose bodies twisted, swept, wobbled and whirled with apparent ease and rather, as imperfect and fallible humans who suffered tremendous physical pain and made enormous sacrifices to continue their journey. profession.

Fiennes’s film is divided into three major periods in the life of Nureyev, based on the biography of Julie Kavanagh and translated into a screenplay by the English playwright, theater, director and screenwriter David Hare. Hare’s own play, “Judas Kiss”, was a poignant exploration of Oscar Wilde’s scandalous relationship with a young Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. The decline of great men, punished for their sexuality, their refusal to feel ashamed to express their sexual desires and their bodies, is ground that Hare has already covered – but not in “White Crow”. However, Hare does not directly address Nureyev’s sexuality and the many relationships he likely had with men before leaving Russia. Nureyev’s sexuality, along with the rumors and assumptions made by Russian authorities about him on the basis of his profession, were surely major factors in his desire to escape Russia and its Russian-Muslim roots. Fiennes’ diplomatic, albeit fragile, reasoning was that the film ends with Nureyev’s defection and therefore his sexuality had not been explicitly clear at this point. “Obviously later in his life he was a shameless gay man, but where our story ends with his defection, I think we are portraying a man learning who he is,” Fiennes, who also plays the role of ballet master Alexander Pushkin. in the movie says Gay Times United Kingdom.

Nureyev was born on a Trans-Siberian train near Siberia to Tatar Muslim parents in 1938, shortly before World War II. In his twenties, despite the KGB’s efforts to prevent it, he defected from the Soviet Union. On a trip to Paris as part of the Kirov ballet company, he experienced the kind of freedom he didn’t know in Russia. The KGB reported in Moscow that the dancer should be fired for allegedly being a frequent customer at gay clubs and bars and spending much of his time with non-Soviet colleagues. Instead, Nureyev enlisted the help of French police and diplomats to enable him to seek asylum and stay in Paris. It was the start of a life of both freedom and the constant coming and going of her country, her family, and the question of what home meant. As a Tatar, Nureyev never saw himself as Russian but as a foreigner, even in his country of birth.

It’s when Nureyev arrives in this new period of his life – geographically, professionally and emotionally – that his story becomes truly fascinating. He’s an expat, a man with no family, a dancer in his prime, and he’s trying to establish his identity after ten years of surveillance and threat.

As anyone who has felt like a stranger knows, the desire to belong and the relentless search for Why we do not adapt, or Why we cannot be as if everyone around us provides exceptional motivation and fiery ambition to prove that we my place here. Even in his forties, burdened with chronic back pain and an ankle spur that made dancing painful, Nureyev still told an interviewer that of the 250 performances he gave that year to that year. day, only three were good.

The passionate facial expressions, in which her chiseled cheekbones and haunted eyes conveyed theatrical expressions of grief, longing, lust and fury that had captivated me as a child, had tragic meaning to me as a child. ‘adult. He knew all these states of being, and for all the lovers he had, famous friends and international fame, at the time of Nureyev’s untimely death at 53, he still had not found peace or answers to his eternal questions of identity and who belong.

Although he played heroes, princes, and young romantics on stage, his own life was infinitely more intriguing. For me, he is inextricably associated with Margot Fonteyn. The onstage partnership he shared with her went beyond the lights of the stage. The couple were spiritually – if not sexually – embraced. Fonteyn died of ovarian cancer just two years before Nureyev’s death, apparently from AIDS. For having witnessed their pas de deux in Romeo and Juliet decades ago, that they dance eternally to each other’s rhythm in life and death seems inevitable. It’s another movie, for another time.

Waiting for, The white crow, with his aesthetic appeal – notably in Oleg Ivenko as Nureyev and the exceptional (almost supernatural) talent Sergei Polunin as Yuri Soloviev, with Fiennes as Alexander (Alexander) Pushkin – gives us a glimpse of which created the perpetual outsider.

See The white crow Friday, December 24 at 8:30 p.m. on SBS World Movies, as part of the Summer Of Discover collection airing Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

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