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Jacqui Morris & David Morris · UK · 2018 · 109 mins · NR
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This finely crafted, impeccably researched documentary feels not so much timely as eternal. To see what it was that made Rudolf Nureyev onstage such a furious and transporting poet-of-the-body is to be at once moved and awed. Nureyev presents a great deal of dance footage that has never been seen before, and it’s a thrill to behold; nothing tells Nureyev’s story half as well as simply staring at him in his prime (in pieces choreographed by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Murray Lewis, among others, as well as older footage from his Russian days).

He rose rapidly, becoming a star in the Kirov company. After Kruschev came to power, the Soviets took a risk in sending the Kirov Ballet to Paris. The 23-year-old Nureyev was a free spirit who didn’t want to be told what to do. From the moment he defected, the Western world was beset by Nureyev-mania. He transformed the ballet into a blazing erotic spectacle, coaxing the sexual subtext to the surface and setting it aflame.

Nureyev delivers Nureyev’s life in all its ecstasy and tragedy. As a documentary, it’s not definitive, but it’s good enough to leave you thrilled and haunted by this man who, at the height of his artistry, seemed to leap off the earth and leave it behind.

“FOUR STARS! Like any great biography, it casts a light through its prismatic subject, whose unique story refracts out colourful strands touching on art, politics, history, identity and so much more.”
–The Guardian
“INSTANTLY ESSENTIAL!” –Hollywood Reporter
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