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White Crow (The)

Country: UK | France, Language: English, 122 mins

  • Director: Ralph Fiennes
  • Writer: David Hare; Julie Kavanagh
  • Producer: Carolyn Marks Blackwood; Francois Ivernel; Gabrielle Tana

CGiii Comment

So looking forward to this...

Talk about being underwhelmed!

Rudolph Nureyev was given 45 minutes alone in a room...to contemplate his future - to defect or not to defect. The enormity of that decision is completely lost in this mismanaged film. And, it all boils down to the writing...which is all over the place with a scrambled timeline that simply confuses...one minute Nureyev has a broken leg in plaster, the next...he's bouncing around like a March bunny! Apart from the black & white flashbacks, there is no visible differentiation between the different stages of Nureyev's [earlier] life.

His homosexuality is [increduously] down-played, there's a brief bedroom scene with him in bed with a naked male 'friend' - however, the emphasis seems to be misplaced upon a clandestine relationship he had with his mentor's wife - the dynamics of this relationship are not explored, it was a very complex situation - the couple moved him into their home...alas, Mr Hare's writing only shows the surface of the story without digging deeper...rather than using Julie Kavanagh's biography, perhaps he ought to have spoken to more people [outwith the Ballet] who knew Mr Nureyev personally.A whole different story would emerge.

Way back in the late 80s, Mr Nureyev told me [yes, I'm making this uncharacteristically personal] that his sexuality was a compelling reason [though, not the only one] for his defection.

Ralph Fiennes is glum as Pushkin...perhaps, he realised he hand landed himself a dud of a script. What he should have done, he didn't...there's a song: Rip it up and start again - that sums it up perfectly. As for Nureyev himself, Oleg Ivenko is a spectacular looking man, looks the part and plays him [most of the time] as a self-absorbed, pompous a-hole. There's no depth...Nureyev - at this time in his life - was in turmoil. Where was the turmoil?

Rudolph Nureyev was a remarkable talent...his memory deserves a far, far better film than this.


The(ir) Blurb...

In early 1960s Paris, the Cold War may be raging, but Soviet authorities have decided to send their finest dance troupe to the City of Light to demonstrate the cultural refinement behind the Iron Curtain. Though the Kirov Ballet is set to wow audiences, one man causes a sensation that reverberates far beyond the stage: the electrifying young dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Devastatingly handsome and culturally ravenous, Nureyev (Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko, in an astonishing screen debut) immediately falls in love with the city. Much to the annoyance of his KGB minders, he makes daily pilgrimages to the Louvre and frequents the city’s jazz bars with a Chilean heiress (Adèle Exarchopoulos), which leads to a pivotal awakening. As David Hare’s script (inspired by Julie Kavanagh’s biography) zig zags across time, we discover Nureyev’s origins: his birth on a Trans-Siberian train; his youth and early schooling, where his temper and uncompromising attitude marked him as troublemaker, and the initial stirrings of his sexuality. Richly evoking the times on atmospheric 16mm, director Ralph Fiennes brings texture and emotional shading to this portrait of a brilliant, inscrutable man whose talent and temperament saw him rock the worlds of ballet and international relations.

Cast & Characters

Oleg Ivenko as Rudolf Nureyev
Ralph Fiennes as Pushkin
Louis Hofmann as Teja Kremke
Adèle Exarchopoulos as Clara Saint
Sergei Polunin as Yuri Soloviev
Olivier Rabourdin as Alexinsky
Raphaël Personnaz as Pierre Lacotte
Chulpan Khamatova as Xenia
Zach Avery as Michael Jones
Mar Sodupe as Helena Romero

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