Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse (1996)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Credited cast:
George Balanchine ...
Jacques d'Amboise ...
Jorge Donn ...
Suzanne Farrell ...
Donna Holly ...
Paul Mejia ...


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Release Date:

5 October 1996 (USA)  »

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Monumentum Pro Gesualdo
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Used by Permission of Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
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7 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am writing this because the Internet Movie Database/Amazon listing has a few inaccuracies. The film itself is fine if you've read Farrell's autobiography Holding On to the Air. The film hits most of the memorable moments of Farrell's career, but condensing it into a movie gives it all a speeded-up appearance, as if she became a star overnight just by wishing it. I thought the segment about "Ballerina Island" was too brief. And nothing is mentioned about Farrell's hip replacement surgery and the comeback which followed. Perhaps the directors wanted to stay focused on the Farrell/Balanchine relationship and found these things to be off-subject. But that doesn't explain why there is so little of Mr. B's Mozartiana ballet. Despite the Amazon reviewer's claim of "lengthy footage," there are only a few black and white stills of Mozartiana, plus recent footage of Farrell teaching the choreography to ballerina Susan Jaffe. Perhaps half of the ballet films here are black and white, and some of them are very blurry. Unfortunately, the all-important Don Q is one of these, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue looks like it was filmed by an amateur. No wonder Farrell wishes she could keep her dance films under lock and key. However, the color clips of the feature film A Midsummer Night's Dream are excellent, and so is Tzigane.

The DVD menu doesn't list particular dance sequences, making it no easier to cue than a videotape. (I suppose you could make your own listing and stick it into the case, since there is also no booklet.) There are no extras here but web-links, some of which are now outdated. It would have been nice to see some extra dance footage or even Farrell's appearance on Sesame Street. But on the brighter side, the film runs 15 minutes longer than advertised, making it 105 minutes total.

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