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Rudolf Nurejew - Celestial Attraction (NTSC)
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Born on the Trans-Siberian express, Rudolf Nureyev never rested in his meteoric rise to become the brightest star in the ballet universe. From commanding the stage of the Paris Opera to cavorting with Miss Piggy on the Muppet Show, Nureyev's charisma and virtuoso talent brought to classical dance a new, modern dimension.
Seventeen years after his life was prematurely claimed by AIDS, we take a retrospective look at the life and work of this great artist - in all its grace, passion, drama and excess. Trhough interviews, archive footage, re-enactments and original dance sequences, the film recreates the key moments of Nureyev's life and shines a light on his unparalleled talent.
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While the DVD notes that accompany the disk, do offer some additional detail, the film remains a rehash of the most cursory facts of Nureyev's life and work. Also, disconcerting, were the fragmented shots (repeatedly inserted, like filler), of young, contemporary dancers, without any identification of who they were, or where they were taking classes(?). Similarly, there are other contemporary shots (at the beginning and closing) of a train station in Ufa(?), to where, Nureyev and his family moved in 1942, when he was four years old. (I only assume this, since the narration is talking about his hometown.) Yet, these shots do not enhance a feeling for Nureyev's childhood experiences in Ufa and war-torn Russia.
Then, to see, part of a "trailer" from Nureyev and Fonteyn in "Romeo and Juliet", one of their greatest performances, just underscored for me that Ms. Paramo must not have been able to gain access or permission to utilize some substantive footage of Nureyev's work, (though this is just a guess on my part).
Lastly, there is just too little evidence of his great work, too much footage of an aging Nureyev riding around in a car, and too many interviews full of compliments, but short on substance. For me, the best clip was to see and hear, for the first time, Dr. Michel Canesi, who acted as Nureyev's personal physician, throughout his illness.
So, I'm donating my copy of this DVD to the local library because it might just be a good introduction for a high school student or, fledgling dancer.
I recommend the DVD by EMI, "Nureyev", that covers his life and work, and runs a substantial 120 minutes.
Then, of course, if your hooked, get Solway's biography and watch, "Romeo & Juliet" (Nureyev & Fonteyn at the Royal Ballet) and their "Swan Lake" (Vienna State Opera Ballet), "Don Quixote" with Lucette Aldous, "The Nutcracker" with Merle Park, and on, and on.
It is uplifting and complimentary - a welcome change from some of the books and European documentaries made after Rudi's death. I wish there was more footage of Rudolf. I was surprised and thrilled to see film clips of him dancing his beloved "La Bayadere" with the Kirov in 1959. Wonderful! One must remember that, back then, cameras added lots of weight to a person: Rudi was actually very slender, very muscular, but thin.
The film also shows clips of Rudi rehearsing "La Sylphide" and joking with his former Kirov partner, Ninel Kurgapkina, during his historic return to dance on the Kirov state again in 1989.
I was very happy to see Rudolf's great friends Charles Jude and Karen Kain share their special memories, as well as other friends.
It is a very poignant documentary.