Director Ralph Fiennes captures the raw physicality and brilliance of Rudolf Nureyev, whose escape to the West stunned the world at the height of the Cold War. With his magnetic presence, Nureyev emerged as ballet's most famous star, a wild and beautiful dancer limited by the world of 1950s Leningrad. His flirtation with Western artists and ideas led him into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse with the KGB.Written by
Writer David Hare and actor-director Ralph Fiennes previously collaborated on another espionage related production, the 'Worricker' trilogy for television, where Fiennes acted and Hare wrote and directed. The three parts are [in order]: 'Page Eight', 'Turks & Caicos', and 'Salting the Battlefield'. See more »
A title card at one point says "The Mariinsky Theatre, Leningrad." However, the theater did not regain that historic Tsarist-era name until 1992. At the time the film is set, during the Soviet era, the building was known as The Kirov Theatre. See more »
My wife and I watched this at home on DVD from our public library.
While the focus of this movie is the 1961 defection of ballet dancer Nureyev you can't really tell that part of his life without understanding his beginnings, from being born on a train in 1938 to studying under the demanding Soviet system. Most of that takes up the first half of the movie.
I remember Nureyev well, he was such an inventive dancer and became popular world-wide in the 1960s and 1970s but I never knew his story. When the company of dancers would tour outside the USSR they were not supposed to exchange ideas or even talk to people from other countries but Nureyev never really followed the rules. When it looked like going back home might be bad for him, in France he defected, asking for political asylum. The scenes that retell and dramatize the incident are some of the best in this movie.
For the role Oleg Ivenko, a Ukranian who really is a ballet dancer in Russia and a first-time actor, plays Rudolf Nureyev and he plays him very well.
A really well made movie and a well told story, we enjoyed it.
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