Ralph Fiennes directs this biopic of legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, inspired by the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh. Real-life dancer Oleg Ivenko embodies the eccentric genius in this thrilling account of Nureyev’s later years, including his dramatic defection from the USSR.
Ralph Fiennes’ ambitious directing effort centres on Russian ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev from his humble beginnings in Siberia to his life-changing visit to France as part of the Kirov Ballet, culminating in his dramatic defection to the West in 1961. Scripted by Britain’s legendary screenwriter David Hare (“The Hours,” “The Reader”), this dance-heavy biopic features acclaimed Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko as Nureyev, showing a fierce physicality in his first film role. Fiennes plays an understated role as Pushkin, St. Petersburg’s most respected dance instructor, who sees something in Nureyev’s passion, prizing it above pure technical skill.
Fiennes plays the role in Russian, which he learned just enough to sound convincing. Adele Exarchopoulous (“Blue is the Warmest Color”) acts against type as the reserved Chilean heiress who opens Nureyev’s eyes to the West’s liberated attitudes to art and sexuality. The film, which Variety calls “lovely and elegant” ends with a gripping scene at Paris’ Le Bourget Airport which– even though we know the outcome– leaves us breathless.
THE WHITE CROW is the true story of an incredible journey by a unique artist who transformed the world of ballet forever.
★★★★'Gives urgency to the life of late, great Nureyev.' Guardian