This is very strange. There are some breathtaking moments here, but you have to know what this is.
One of the three central definers of the Russian people, and the one that most affiliates with Europe, is the Bolshoi. But by 1965, it had become relentlessly focused on technique without passion. All the fire was manufactured. All the choreography was aggressively conservative. No life, no development, but lovely in a museum sort of way.
At the same time, Soviet filmmaking became aligned with the abstract mathematics community, the best in the world at that time. It hosted Tarkovsky and Kalatozishvili who had invented the dancing eye. Their camera swooped and participated in the action as a peer.
So along comes this film. It obviously was under the thick thumb of a ballet commissar. It attempts some clever framing, movement and a few effects. The result is a colorful failure that actually takes away from the dancing.
Supported by the attempts at shifting planes is the thinnest of story: A dancer shifts among prepubescence, adolescence and young adulthood. At the same time, there are shifts between staged dances and their rehearsals, and costumed and uncostumed performances. That?s intelligent enough an idea, just handled clumsily.
Ted?s Evaluation: 2 of 4 -- Has some interesting features.
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