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The White Crow

Ballet dancer Rudolf Nurejew decides to seek political asylum in Paris in June 1961. A cat and mouse game with the Soviet secret service begins.


British actor Ralph (Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-) Fiennes‘ third film as a director is the film version of the life of Russian ballet revolutionary and exceptional dancer Rudolf Nurejew, more specifically the legendary Paris stay of the Kirov Ballet in 1961 where Nurejew danced in Swan Lake and, in a dramatic move, asked for Western asylum. Fiennes weaves flashbacks to different time periods into the main plot that show little Rudnik who grew up in poverty in a village near Bashkiria, him discovering dance while going to the theatre, and him as a young dancer who is actually far too old for the state ballet school of Leningrad and also too stubborn and impatient but is nevertheless accepted. The many time jumps make it difficult to find the narrative at first, but the film gradually finds its groove. The characterization of the protagonist and supporting actors are thankfully complex. Nurejew, played by Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko, doesn‘t just have the angular features and piercing gaze of the real dancer, but also his abrupt, opaque manner which frustrate his KGB guards. While the rest of the company are well-behaved and stay in the hotel, Nurejew wanders to the Louvre, sits in the street cafes like a Bohemian, and roams the streets with Chilean heiress Clara Saint. Rudolf Nurejew has his own ideas when it comes to his life and the ballet. Fiennes shows complex, accurate, and elegant restraint that casually mentions Nurejew‘s homosexuality, giving space for nuance in his complex love triangle with his teacher Alexander Pushkin (Fiennes) and his wife Helena (Mar Sodupe).


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: The White Crow
Großbritannien, Frankreich 2018, 122 min
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Author: David Hare
DOP: Mike Eley
Distributor: Alamode
Cast: Oleg Ivenko, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Ralph Fiennes, Louis Hofmann
FSK: 6
Release: 26.09.2019




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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