Nureyev (12A) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir: David Morris. Jacqui Morris, Italy/UK, 2018, 106 mins.

Cast: Rudolf Nureyev, Dan Fouras, Jordan Kennedy, Antoinette Sibley

Review by Carlie Newman

Nureyev was the most exciting dancer I have ever seen on stage. His dancing skills were out of this world. Seeing him leaping and bounding across the stage made one’s heart beat faster and to look at his beautiful face and body remains an image in my mind.

The documentary, Nureyev, is out now and well worth catching. The film deals with Rudolf Nureyev’s life before he became famous as well as after.

Filmmakers Jacqui and David Morris (a sister and brother) have worked hard on this documentary. It is special in that in addition to archive material, we hear actual words from Nureyev’s memoirs – spoken by Sian Phillips.

Starting with Rudolf’s early life, the documentary progresses to the point where he becomes world wide news. On a tour out of Russia he defected to the west in 1961. Interviews with some of Rudolf’s close friends, colleagues, and dance partners including Antoinette Sibley. It is fascinating, too, to see the archive material which has film of Nureyev dancing with some of his famous dance partners, especially one of his dearest friends, Margot Fonteyn. We also hear sound bites from the great dancer and see him finally visiting his mother in 1987 after many years in exile.

In this biographical film we are lucky to see Nureyev being interviewed on TV by luminaries including Dick Cavett and Michael Parkinson.

Unhappily Rudolf died at an all too young age. Only 54 he died in Paris of an age-related illness. Terribly sadly the film finishes with a very weak Nureyev coming on stage with help to take a curtain call at the end of his life. We miss him still.