THE WHITE CROW
* * * ½
(Story of Nureyev's rise to fame)
This interesting look inside the life and soul of Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev is a two-hour saga of the contrasting cultures in Russia and Paris in the mid-1960s. We watch the young dancer develop his tremendous skills as a member of the world-renowned Kirov Ballet Company to become the most famous dancer in the world. Flashbacks in black and white give us an inside look at his impoverished youth, mixed in with his training and development, and the influence that Parisian life had on him.
It was the end of the Cold War and the ballet company was making its first trip to Paris. The dancers, especially the free-spirited Nureyev, were closely watched by the KGB to the point of not talking with their Parisian counterparts. Nureyev was rebellious, as he was in his dance style, sneaking away to visit the arts, music and cultural offerings of the city, making friends with young Parisians, including Clara Saint, who introduce him to a freedom he had never seen in his lifetime.
Oleg Ivenko captures the psyche and the dance moves of Nureyev perfectly, and Ralph Fiennes portrays his teacher, in addition to directing the movie.
Nureyev is indifferent to the politics of the time. He just wants to be free, both in his dancing and in his lifestyle, right up to the harrowing moment at the Le Bourget Airport, where he must decide whether to go back to Russia or defect. The movie title refers to a person who is different, unlike his peers, and that is Nureyev to a tee. Arrogant and self-centered, Nureyev knows what he wants and doesn't always treat his friends and strangers kindly. Ivenko gives a stunning performance as the artist at his best and worst.
Rated R, with some sex and profanity. At the Avon.