This striking new documentary traces the extraordinary life of Rudolf Nureyev, who transcended fame in the dance world to become a pop culture icon of his time.
“A meticulous, heartbreaking tour de force.” – Leslie Felperin, Guardian
Nureyev serves up a truly profound experience of the man’s extraordinary technique, scintillating stage presence and sexual magnetism (both on and off-stage). Charting his rise from humble beginnings in Russia, to his eventual defection to the West, to his subsequent fame as a global phenomenon, the film features never-before-seen archival dance footage (some choreographed by modern dance greats Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Murray Lewis), while newly created work directed by Royal Ballet alumnus Russell Maliphant, with an original score by Alex Baranowski, dramatizes scenes from the dancer’s life. A quarter of a century after Nureyev’s death, his story has never been more relevant: his defection to the West is symbolic as Russia and the West struggle once more to reconcile conflicting values. As the Russian government’s attitude towards homosexuality is seen as medieval in its archaism, Nureyev’s unapologetic openness about his sexuality over half a century ago can be seen for the act of trailblazing bravery it truly was. Having left a legacy in the dance world stemming from Mikhail Baryshnikov to the current era of Marcelo Gomes, Carlos Acosta and Sergei Polunin, it is telling that Nureyev is still widely considered the finest male ballet dancer ever to grace the stage. (Dir. by David Morris & Jacques Morris, 2018, UK, 109 mins., Not Rated)