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Amelia

“The White Crow" - a film about Nureyev

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If like me, your reaction on reading that Nureyev will be played by "Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko" was... "WHO??"  you may be interested in the following info.

As the -enko in his name suggests, he is in fact Ukrainian (like Artem Ovcharenko, who played Nureyev in the recent BBC docudrama), but he is a principal dancer with the ballet company in Kazan (Tatarstan). Here's the Google translated version of his page on the company website.

http://kazan-opera.ru/team/25/695/

 

Honored Artist of Tatarstan
Laureate of international competitions

He graduated from the Kharkov choreographic school in 2006, the Belarusian State Choreographic College in 2010

Admitted to the ballet troupe in September 2010,

Winner of the International Competition "Crystal Shoe" (Kharkov, 2005, 2006, 2009),
Diploma and a special prize of the International Ballet Competition "Arabesque" (Perm, 2010),
Winner of the International Competition in Varna (2010)
Member of the V International festival of choreographic schools and schools in Kazan (2010)
Winner (paired with Kristina Andreeva) II of the International Prize "TANZOLIMP" Contest-Festival (Berlin, February 2011)
Winner of the Prize II, winner of the special prize of the jury and the press prize STD Russia XII International Ballet Competition "Arabesque" (paired with Kristina Andreeva) (Perm, 2012),
The winner of the II International Yuri Grigorovich Competition Prize "Young Ballet of the World" (Sochi 2012).
In 2012, he took part (in pair with Christina Andreeva) to show the TV channel "Culture", "Bolshoi Ballet".
Winner of the Grand Prix International Competition Yuri Grigorovich "Young Ballet of the World" (Sochi 2014)
Winner of the I prize of the Krasnoyarsk International Ballet Competition "Grand Prix of Siberia" (Krasnoyarsk, 2014)
Winner of the I prize of the Korean IX International Ballet Competition (Seoul, 2016).
 


Repertoire includes:

Basil ( "Don Quixote"),
Solor ( "La Bayadere"),
Coghlan, Allen ( "Vain Precaution"),
Shurale ( "Shurale"),
Jester, Neapolitan dance Arapchonok ( "Swan Lake"),
Prince, Harlequin, Chinese Dance ( "Nutcracker"),
Merry Gnome ( "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"),
Blue Bird ( "The Sleeping Beauty"),
Mercutio, Benvolio ( "Romeo and Juliet"),
Ali ( "Corsair"),
Franz Friends ( "Coppelia"),
Nuradinov ( "Golden Horde")
Student ( "Annie"),
Pierre Gringoire, Acteon ( "Esmeralda") and others.

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The trailer looks splendid and it looks as though it deals with Rudolf's defection and time in Paris.

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I was lucky enough to see this when it was shown at the London Film Festival last year. I really enjoyed it and the scenes at Le Bourget in particular are really gripping  even though we know the outcome! Ralph Fiennes has drawn an amazing performance from Oleg Ivenko who has never acted before. He is pretty good at dancing too! Fiennes himself is also excellent - as are the rest of the cast.  I strongly recommend it. 

Edited by BeauxArts
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Oh I am looking forward to this. Mr Fiennes took ballet lessons to prepare for this film, as he wanted to understand something of what it might be like. He contacted the Royal Ballet who said "Our Bennet Gartside teaches beginner classes" so he ended up taking private lessons in the ROH from the said Mr Gartside.

 

I saw a young Chinese couple at second interval of the Watson Mayerling on 11 May 2017 trying to sell Mr Fiennes their tickets for the third act as they had dinner reservations. He was just having a quiet cig outside and caught my eye, rolling his own (eyes not cigarette!) while rebuffing their attempts. When they finally moved away he grinned and said there was no understanding some people. We had a brief chat about acting in ballet, then I actually had the presence of mind to remember myself and say I would now leave him in peace, for which he thanked me, saying that he wished more people would be so kind! My Brush With Fame. Right up there with literally looking up from the desk at stage door on 28 April 2017 to see Aurélie Dupont, at which I instantly bowed deeply, saying "Madame Dupont!", making her laugh. The dates are engraved on my brain.

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Lucky you. I have a theory that Mr Fiennes is incapable of being in a bad film, so hopes are high.....

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I watched The White Crow at the Tokyo International Film Festival, with a Q&A session with Ralph Fiennes.  It was a stunning film, going back and forth through 3 tenses, Nureyev's childhood, when he was a student at Vaganova, and the fateful Paris tour, with the look of the cinematography different. Oleg Ivenko was very good in acting, he displayed the mood of Nureyev very well and his inner turmoils and his ambitions, his high cheekbones resembled Nureyev . Especially the defection scene was very well directed, very tense and dramatic. (Pierre Lacotte contributed very much for the realization of this scene) The locations were in the Vaganova academy and Garnier, Mariinsky Theatre. 

It was great that the dialogue was done with the original languages, (mainly Russian and French) and Fiennes as Pushkin spoke very good Russian. (he said in the Q&A that he had to be in the movie to gain funding for this film) It was also great that the roles were played with actual dancers, the beautiful Anna Polikarpova (former principal of Hamburg Ballet and before that a Mariinsky Dancer) played the role of Natalia Dudinskaya with the glamor of a movie star. Sergei Polunin appears as Yuri Soloviev and actually shows his technique in some of the dance sequences but not a big role. Ivenko has the mood of a Soviet dancer and his dancing is also fabulous. (He competed in the program Big Ballet representing Kazan Opera) 

I think this was a very well made movie and will recommend to ballet fans. 

 

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Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere but I've just seen that the film with the Ranulph Fiennes Q and A session is being shown at about 25 Odeon cinemas on Tuesday 12 March (or at least it is at my local Odeon, Preston on this date). I thought the docu/drama made by (I think) the BBC a couple of Christmas' ago dealing with Nureyev' defection was excellent as was Artem Ovcharenko as Nureyev. it will be interesting to see how this compares.

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Off to see this tonight- anyone else?- and really looking forward to it having read the comments above.

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I'd forgotten it was tonight - and certainly can't go at this late stage :(  Mind you, since my local is charging even more than the already-exorbitant price they charge for live ballet relays, I wouldn't have been going there anyway.  But do report back.  I shall be interested to see what the running time is: one chain has it as 127 minutes, and another has it as 176, or some such!  Bit of a difference, eh?

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I have just arrived home from seeing White Crow. A stunning film. I would highly recommend it!

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Posted (edited)

It was stunning wasn't it Susan? I agree- I was most impressed- the best film with ballet at its centre I have yet seen. All praise to Fiennes for directing a very insightful, intelligent, moving film, and for his own marvellous acting (in Russian!).

The editing at first seemed rather fast and I was concerned it would be too much so, but in fact, the three main strands were very well edited to present, not just a narrative, but a rich and deep picture of what made Nureyev the strange and wonderful creature he was.  It seemed to be fairly closely based on Julie Kavanagh's biography, and seemed very convincing about the details of the life ( especially the almost silent but very intense scenes with his father's return and the hunting incident) . But it wasn't just a close story-telling, but a poetic evocation.

Highly recommended: I shall be going to  see it again.

 

The dancing was great too and the filming of the dancing scenes was imaginative and very effective. i loved the scenes of back-stage at his first appearance at Palais Garnier. The ovation scene will live with me- it conveyed quite brilliantly that euphoria which somehow, one felt, justified a lifetime of pain and sacrifice.

 

Polunin only had 1 or 2 lines.

 

 

Edited by Mary
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4 hours ago, alison said:

I'd forgotten it was tonight - and certainly can't go at this late stage :(  Mind you, since my local is charging even more than the already-exorbitant price they charge for live ballet relays, I wouldn't have been going there anyway.  But do report back.  I shall be interested to see what the running time is: one chain has it as 127 minutes, and another has it as 176, or some such!  Bit of a difference, eh?

It was 127 minutes I think- the extra time was for those cinemas running a live-satellite link- discussion with the creative team afterwards.

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I went tonight at our local Odeon in Preston and really enjoyed both the film and the Q and A session with Ralph Fiennes (who plays Nureyev's instructor, Pushkin in the film). I noticed the BBC were one of the collaborators and it was not too dissimilar to the Dance to Freedom film the BBC made a couple of Christmas' ago. I thought characters could possibly have been better introduced (I didn't realise the handsome young Frenchman was supposed to be Pierre Lacotte until about halfway through the film) and thought more could have been made of Polunin as Soloviev and his relationship with Nureyev which I think was developed more in Dance to Freedom. I didn't recognise him at first as he was blond! However, a great film which really tries to explore Nureyev's complex character and his rather lonely life. he always comes over as an outsider and a rebel. It's not a complete biopic as it only covers his childhood and young adulthood (mainly by flashbacks) and ends with his opening performance with the Marquis de Cuevas ballet after his defection. The time flew by when watching it and there was so much to absorb you really need at least 2 viewings to take it all in. I will probably go again when it's on general release and hopefully it will crop up on BBC at some point as they were involved in it's creation or production. the young man who played Nureyev is certainly a talented dancer and a good actor too. it was interesting that Ralph Fiennes said they always wanted a dancer who could act rather than the other way round as they wanted it to be always obvious that he was a dancer even when he wasn't dancing. it's true if you see ballet dancers in the street they do have a very distinct way of walking and sometimes I find myself automatically thinking 'I bet you're a dancer' as I walk past some completely anonymous young person. Is this search for authenticity the difference between British and US attitudes to ballet films if you compare it to Black Swan? Fiennes and his Company managed to soldier on and somehow produce the film even after a major financial backer pulled out very late on. A great film and well worth seeing.

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Yes indeed- Oleg Ivenko did an amazing acting job considering he has not acted before. I am sure a lot of credit must go to Fienne's directing, but even so it is a very fine performance- and I agree it was a good decision to cast a real dancer. In fact, the only decision that makes sense for someone whose entire identity was defined, as he famously said 'I am dancer'.

 

 

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Just discovered that there's another preview, tonight, at the BFI in London, at 20.15.  Q&A with Fiennes, Ivenko, David Hare and producer Gaby Tana.  Wish I'd found out about it earlier :( 

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Me too Alison I've been in London today so could have made it!! Though do you have to be a member or attend with a member of the BFI to attend events there ....haven't been there for years now but went a lot when I lived in London

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I saw this too and loved it as much as everyone else. I was very impressed with Ivenko, who made a tremendous job of evoking the dedication, defiance, volatility and thirst for knowledge that characterised Nureyev. And what an attractive and charming young man he was, looking very different indeed during the Q and A.

 

As ever, Ralph Fiennes was totally convincing in his portrayal of Pushkin, gentle, wise and inspiring in his role as mentor to the young and hungry Nureyev, Polunin, as Soloviev, showed flashes of his extraordinary and sadly neglected talent and Louis Hofmann made much of a relatively minor but hugely important role as Teja Kremke, Nureyev's paramour and the man who believed that he should show his talent to the world.

 

The childhood scenes were evocative and beautifully shot, with flashbacks informing the man that Nureyev was to become, the euphoria following his triumph in Paris was at once both thought-provoking and touching and the drama of the defection at Le Bourget was nail-bitingly reproduced, despite the fact that the outcome would, I imagine, have been known to everyone watching last night.

 

Nureyev was a force of nature, the like of which we are unlikely to witness again. As I watched the film I couldn't help wondering why, during the recent and uninspiring BBC 20th Century Icons series, he wasn't centre-screen, changing and challenging our perceptions with his rebelliousness, passion and quite singular charisma.

 

And on a somewhat different note, did anyone else notice that David Hare seems to have morphed into Melvyn Bragg?

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Went to the BFI screening tonight and thoroughly enjoyed THE WHITE CROW.  All aspects were sensitively handled I thought.  This is very much a film about a young man who became - as his passion dictated - a dancer first and foremost rather than a dance film.  I had thought that the Q&A would have been remote and seen on the screen.  Not at all.  It was live with Ralph Fiennes, Sir David Hare and Oleg Ivenko (he who played Nureyev) who spoke in Russian through a translator all happily breathing in front of our very eyes.  Some of their insights - such as how potent Baryishnikov had been in informing the film - and that the REAL two young friends in the casual Russian dinner scene were actually present in that segment of filming as additional characters whilst two young actors enacted their younger selves - were most telling.  Recommended certainly.  

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I thought you might have gone, Bruce - glad you enjoyed it.

 

Do you really have to be a BFI member to go to events these days?  It used to be that you could turn up as a one-off, at a higher price.

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9 hours ago, alison said:

 

 

Do you really have to be a BFI member to go to events these days?  It used to be that you could turn up as a one-off, at a higher price.

 

I was there and I am not a member!!!!   No one seemed to bother ... When picking up the ticket the lady at the box office desk (inside the venue as it happens) was kind enough to smile.  Much appreciated.  

 

 

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14 hours ago, Bruce Wall said:

 

I was there and I am not a member!!!!   No one seemed to bother ... When picking up the ticket the lady at the box office desk (inside the venue as it happens) was kind enough to smile.  Much appreciated.  

 

 

You don't have to be a member to go there or buy a ticket  (but I think the advantage of being a member is that you get a discount on ticket prices).  It's very "opened up" in terms of its bars and restaurants, and there are very comfy sofas.

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