Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nureyev Dancing Through Darkness|
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
This program tells the compelling and hitherto untold story of Nureyev's last years. It is a documentry about one man's creative vision, a genius trapped in a dying body. Above all, it shows one man's desperate struggle to... more »
An artist and AIDS
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 04/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The subjects of artists and AIDS has never been discussed enough. How do creative minds deal with the fact that their bodies are deteriorating? How do artists handle a public that may want to know about their health more than their work? Does an incurable illness spur creativity or hamper it? These are all questions that have not been answered enough.
When Newsweek had a cover story on AIDS and the arts, they showed Nureyev on the cover. They barely touched the gay issue and stated that Nureyev never spoke out much about his illness. Either in the article or in comments to the editor, a close confidante said that Nureyev feared that someone would sue him for infecting them, as Rock Hudson's ex-lover did. However, here, those who know Nureyev speak openly about his gay identity and HIV status. The owner of the bathhouse he frequented even participated in an interview.
This documentary features men and women equally talking about the Nureyev they knew. Discrimination against the HIV-positive is only hinted at here. But one does get to see many people, of all genders and sexualities, supporting Nureyev and not giving a care about his illness, even though he died during tense years of prejudice against PWAs. This work show people talking about Nureyev and barely shows any clips of the dancer speaking for himself; this may disappoint his hardcore fans.
I wish this film had put Nureyev in context more. Like Martina Navratolova (sp?), he is an Eastern European who defected. Did many gays and lesbians do this or only the famous one? Were other HIV-positive ballet dancers treated well like Nureyev or did his celebrity make him an exception? This film show Nureyev gaunt, but unlike footage in "Black Is/Black Ain't" where one sees Bill T. Jones' lover Arnie dancing and coughing, you never see Nureyev physically struggling here.
Unlike most documentaries, this one actually had foreign language subtitles. This was helpful at times because many of the interviewees had poor English skills. This work is not subtitled in Russian, Nureyev's mother tongue. Because more and more Russians are moving to the United States, that would have been helpful to those viewers and I wish the DVD makers had thought about that."