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The White Crow

Dance perfection meets political defection in director Ralph Fiennes’ intoxicating account of the young life of Rudolf Nureyev.

Dir Ralph Fiennes
Prod Andrew Levitas, Gabrielle Tana, François Ivernel, Carolyn Marks Blackwood
Scr David Hare
With Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Louis Hofmann
Sales HanWay Films

In early 1960s Paris, the Cold War may be raging, but Soviet authorities have decided to send their finest dance troupe to the City of Light to demonstrate the cultural refinement behind the Iron Curtain. Though the Kirov Ballet is set to wow audiences, one man causes a sensation that reverberates far beyond the stage: the electrifying young dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Devastatingly handsome and culturally ravenous, Nureyev (Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko, in an astonishing screen debut) immediately falls in love with the city. Much to the annoyance of his KGB minders, he makes daily pilgrimages to the Louvre and frequents the city’s jazz bars with a Chilean heiress (Adèle Exarchopoulos), which leads to a pivotal awakening. As David Hare’s script (inspired by Julie Kavanagh’s biography) zig zags across time, we discover Nureyev’s origins: his birth on a Trans-Siberian train; his youth and early schooling, where his temper and uncompromising attitude marked him as troublemaker, and the initial stirrings of his sexuality. Richly evoking the times on atmospheric 16mm, director Ralph Fiennes brings texture and emotional shading to this portrait of a brilliant, inscrutable man whose talent and temperament saw him rock the worlds of ballet and international relations.

Kate Taylor

Additional information

See also LFF Connects: David Hare

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