Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Born into poverty and hardship, Rudolf Nureyev became one of the most acclaimed male dancers of his generation. For thirty years, his uncompromising standards were reflected in a glorious repertoire of performances as both... more »
Excellent documentary; a must-have for Nureyev fans
J. Lizzi | Costa Mesa, CA | 03/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For someone who not only enjoys watching great dancers perform, but who also appreciates a good biography, I was impressed by every minute of this DVD documentary. Whether or not you're a dance fanatic, you're bound to be amazed by the life, contribution and influence of one of ballet's greatest masters.The story told in these 90 minutes has everything: photos of Rudolph as a boy, amazing archival film footage from his early dance training, very good video recordings of 60's and 70's dance performances, and interviews with Nureyev and his sister, teachers, mentors and celebrated dance partners. I would have preferred that the Russian speech had been complemented with subtitles instead of being talked over by English translators, but that's a minor criticism that I could overlook since each of those interviewed was rather captivating. Overall, the presentation is fairly balanced between dialogue and dance, revealing many different perspectives on Nureyev's life. Also, I was very pleased to see a few of the short repertory performances shown in their entirety. Nureyev's incredible talent on the dance floor is clearly evident, you'll see. The more recent footage of Nureyev in his home studio warming up his worn-out body is at once both amazing and sad. He really did intend to perform until he died.Even though there's almost nothing in the way of special DVD features, this disc doesn't need them. The story, dancing and production are all superb. I'll be watching this many more times to come."
Discreet, respectful but well-made documentary
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 11/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rudolf Nureyev's life story would make a good biopic, along the lines of Billy Elliot: a poor, uneducated Tatar boy gets a late start on ballet, but through sheer determination becomes a great star. He defects to the West, and becomes an even bigger star.
Patricia Foy's shortish (90 minute) documentary (like her documentary of Nureyev's most famous partner, Margot Fonteyn) is discreet, respectful, and focuses mostly on Nureyev's professional life. The interviews with Nureyev himself, his Russian teachers at the Kirov and Margot Fonteyn shed light on his incredible career. There is fascinating footage of a very young Nureyev dancing for the Kirov, as well as an extended clip from Fonteyn and Nureyev's early, legendary performances of Giselle. You can see why their partnership was famous: despite the age gap (19 years) and training differences, they truly seemed to dance, as Nureyev said, with "one body, one soul." My favorite clip was a hilarious "pas de deux" with Miss Piggy from The Muppets Show. It shows a lighter side of Nureyev, and of course watching the divine Miss Piggy in a tutu is well, divine.
Nureyev was a controversial figure wherever he went -- temperamental, demanding, flamboyant, and ruthlessly devoted to his art, he butted heads with costars, management, and an entire ballet company (the Paris Opera Ballet, which he ran with an iron hand). He had many lovers (including a long relationship with Erik Bruhn) and his offstage life is mostly not discussed here, except for footage of him returning to Russia in 1988. His dancing could be uneven, and critics were sometimes snotty about his "unfinished technique." Foy doesnt touch upon the controversy in Nureyev's life, and perhaps this is all to the good, because the interviews do capture Nureyev's warmth and charisma, and also the fondness from the people who knew him. There are some nice contributions from Natalia Dudlinskaya, who was Nureyev's early partner. Sometimes a little reverence and respect for privacy is a good thing, in my opinion.
Nureyev in the interviews is visibly tired but eloquent, and a few years later we found out why: after a courageous battle he died of AIDS in 1993. Thus, Foy's documentary takes on an extra poignancy. To watch Nureyev warm-up at the barre, his feet gnarled from years of endless dancing, his body gaunt and aged, is both uncomfortable and memorable.