This Is Rudolf Nureyev | Chicago Reader

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Produced for French TV in 1965, this 50-minute unsubtitled documentary by Pierre-Andre Boutang and Philippe Colin takes a rhapsodic look at Rudolf Nureyev choreographing Raymonda for the Spoletobfestival in Italy. Though shot verite style, the film's backstage footage is reverent, and Nureyev is a seductive interview subject, coyly divulging the tricks of his trade. Three shorts round out the program: Le Corsair Solo (1958, 1 min.) shows the teenage Nureyev performing the eponymous dance from Marius Petipa's ballet when he graduated from the Kirov Ballet School. Le Corsair Pas de Deux (1966, 8 min.) is an excerpt from the same work restaged by Nureyev for the Royal Ballet, with himself and Margot Fonteyn. But the real gem is Le jeune homme et la mort (1966, 17 min.), Roland Petit's restaging of his 1946 ballet based on a Jean Cocteau poem and set to Bach's organ music. Nureyev is graceful and expressive as the brooding young lover seduced, mocked, and tormented to the point of suicide by Zizi Jeanmaire, though his legendary partner seems too world-weary for her role.

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