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Nijinsky: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (2001)

The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (original title)
Dramatization of Russian ballet star Vaclav Nijinsky's diaries which detail his madness as well as his homosexual relationship with Ballet Russe impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his marriage to his Hungarian wife.


Paul Cox


Vaslav Nijinsky (diaries), Paul Cox

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Derek Jacobi ... Nijinsky (voice) (as Sir Derek Jacobi)
Delia Silvan ... Romola
Chris Haywood ... Oscar
Hans Sonneveld Hans Sonneveld ... Doctor
Oliver Streeton Oliver Streeton ... Psychiatrist
Jillian Smith Jillian Smith ... Emilia
Kevin Lucas Kevin Lucas ... Diaghilev
David Gallasch David Gallasch ... Critic
Aanya Whitehead Aanya Whitehead ... Maid
Gabriella Joy Smart Gabriella Joy Smart ... Piano Player
Lisa Heaven Lisa Heaven ... Prostitute
Patricia Cellier Patricia Cellier ... Prostitute
Kyra Cox Kyra Cox ... Little Kyra
Anandine Merino Anandine Merino ... Little Kyra
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vicki Attard Vicki Attard ... Le Spectre de la Rose - Dancer


Dramatization of Russian ballet star Vaclav Nijinsky's diaries which detail his madness as well as his homosexual relationship with Ballet Russe impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his marriage to his Hungarian wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"I'm a dancer. You will understand me when you see me dance." - Vaslav Nijinsky See more »


See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Art Films | Hanway Films



Release Date:

25 April 2002 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Nijinsky: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky See more »

Filming Locations:

Spain See more »


Box Office


AUD 1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,393, 2 June 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$55,068, 27 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Of the film's music, director Paul Cox said: "I believe when you start a film you must have your music in place. Music is the basis of all creativity. In this case, there is a lot of existing music one has to use to give it a sense of authenticity. Debussy, Weber and quite a few other established composers you have to use for credibility. We wanted the Adelaide Symphony [Orchestra] involved and record it the way it was played in those days, so it's not too smooth...quite rough around the edges." See more »


Referenced in Interview with Paul Grabowsky (2001) See more »


L'Après-midi d'un Faune
Music by Claude Debussy
Performed by the Brussels Philharmonic (as BRT Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Alexander Rahbari
See more »

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User Reviews

Flattering treatment of naive diaries of dance legend Nijinsky
12 September 2002 | by dallemangSee all my reviews

A lovingly shot, very flattering treatment of the diaries of dance legend Vaslaw Nijinsky. Derek Jacobi reads aloud from the dancer's diaries, written just before he was committed to an institution for the mentally ill. The diaries themselves are by modern standards sickeningly insipid and naive; Nijinsky rejects any form of thinking or analysis in favor of love and feeling, and repeats over and over how he just wants to love everyone, so how can there be war, or any other bad things? This film could have been such a trite love-fest celebration.

Instead, Cox has managed to juxtapose the text over a series of images and music, often taken from Nijinsky's choreographies, into a tapestry that brings real meaning from what could be called the written ravings of a madman. Recurring characters based on roles Nijinsky made famous illustrate the feelings and episodes expressed in the diaries. The result is an expression of the meaning behind the madness that I found thought-provoking (even if Nijinsky would not approve of all that thinking!).

The camera work makes an intriguing parallel to the diary itself; the execution of the diary is naive in a way reminiscent of folk art, but the ideas in it are deeply sensual. Cox is certainly as capable of slick camera work as any good director, but for the dance scenes in the woods (especially those from "Afternoon of a Faun"), he chose a style of camera work that looks just a little bit clumsy and amateurish, while filming a choreography so sensual that it caused quite a scandal when Nijinsky danced it for the first time in 1912. The juxtaposition of naive execution with sensual content echoes and accentuates the feeling of the diaries themselves.

All in all a beautiful film; a great find.

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