The White Crow means an individual very different, usual and not like no others. Rudolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko) is seventeen years old from the Soviet Union and along with many other Russian dancers he has come west to Paris on May 12, 1961 to enter dance school, learn about the French culture and be the best dancer he can be. Rudi has a tendency to be difficult, opinionated and paranoid but all within reason. His instructor is Pushkin (Ralph Fiennes) who Rudi tries emotionally in his style of dance to please but Pushkin shows him little attention compared to other teachers.
Several moments through the story Rudi remembers his childhood and the audience is welcomed into his life as a young boy with several siblings, a loving mother and a military father that was away for a period of time. In Paris Rudi was constantly out sightseeing every chance he got and along the way became friends with Pierre Lacotte (Raphael Personnaz) his girlfriend Helena (Mar Sodupe) and their good friend Clara Saint (Adele Exarchopoulos) who Rudi took a liking to and started spending much of his time with. Yet Rudi was always followed and watched by Russian authorities afraid he may speak or do things not appropriate to his country. Everyone must have a purpose in life otherwise what’s the point. Rudi found his purpose in dance, arts and other cultures, meeting others and learning from them. He has always had a love of trains since he was actually born on one and when he and Clara went to a local toy store to purchase one Rudi’s personality as mean and demanding came exploding out. When Russian authorities told Rudi he would be sent to UFA he pleaded to make it to the Bolshoi but suddenly broke his foot upon which time he moved in with Pushkin and his wife Xenia (Chulpan Khamatova) who wanted more than to nurse his foot back to health. Whether men or women Rudi did whatever he wanted to do in bed.
It is the dancers last night out in Paris before they all move on to London but when they arrive at the airport Rudi is informed that he needs to go back to Russia alone. Afraid that the Russians will kill him Rudi causes a scene at the airport and with the help of Clara and Pierre; Rudi is able to approach Paris police for political asylum. Of course the Russians were not happy and tried everything to get Rudi to change his mind, his career, his family, friends are all part of the bargaining but when Rudi is taken upstairs to the police office he is given 45 minutes to decide alone on whether he takes the door to left and stays in Paris or if he takes the door to the right and gets on the plane. What do you think this young dancer chooses?
I have really been enjoying what film companies have been turning out when it comes to biographies on the big screen. This film is well worth the watch as it follows a talented ballet dancer from childhood to adulthood and his decisions about life, love, and dance. Well directed with the use of sub-titles and nicely written the story does jump around a bit but overall is easy to follow and enjoy. Mixed in with some intriguing dialogue the film also uses several scenes of dance and music which helps the audience’s fascination of this story. Nureyev is wonderful as the main character whether in or out of tights. He has a tendency of drawing you into his world and his plight for a life he truly wants and not told what he can have. Fiennes does a sufficient job with his character but is not a huge part of the film the same for Khamatova who plays his wife and seduces Rudi. Exarchopoulos is a welcomed relationship to Rudi’s character as his Personnaz and Teja Kremke who plays Louis Hofmann. A variety of supporting characters and extras several of them dancers helps to move this story along for 2 hours.