Friday, May 24, 2019


A documentary by Jacqui Morris and David Morris
Screening May 24th-26th
Roxie Theater, San Francisco

Be sure to make time this coming weekend to visit San Francisco’s Roxie Theater for Nureyev, a captivating film by Jacqui Morris and David Morris that takes a deep dive into the life and career of Rudolph Nureyev. Like any good documentary (and this one is that for sure), Nureyev combines cultural history lessons, personal journeys and remembrances into a rich, lush tapestry. Ample time is devoted to the legendary dancer’s family life, his training, defection in Paris, his relationship with Erik Bruhn, his iconic dance partnership with Margot Fonteyn at the Royal Ballet and finally, his tragic death from AIDS. With an elegant and curious lens, J. Morris and D. Morris have created a marvelous tribute fitting of this phenomenal artistic soul.

Early video clips, televised interview footage, audio commentary (from a wide range of friends, colleagues and collaborators) along with performance videos are aplenty in the film’s hour and forty minutes, though there is yet another artistic element to Nureyev that makes it stand out. The work is peppered with different dance scenes specifically choreographed for the project by Russell Maliphant – episodes and vignettes that are narratively and emotionally informed by particular plotpoints in the documentary. In these dramatized, choreographic moments, the viewer meets Nureyev’s mother and sisters and his first dance teacher. His social group in the 1960s is depicted, as is his tortured decision to stay in Paris or return to Russia. It’s like watching a story ballet (though the movement falls within contemporary/modern/Dance Theater genres) in creative conversation and exchange with a documentary. Nureyev’s archival material and meticulous research is indeed impressive, but it is this additional artistic layer that makes the film unlike other projects. It allows the audience to connect to the material on another level, which seems more than apt for a dancer/choreographer/director whose talent and drive were surely on another level.   

No comments: