"Standing Out from the Crowd"
THE WHITE CROW is set during the Cold War, as dancers are permitted to go from the Soviet Union to Paris to study ballet. Among those dancers is Rudolf Nureyev, a spirited young man who’s totally aware of just how talented he is. As a rather cocky pupil, Rudi immediately demands to be put under the direction of another instructor, Pushkin. He wants nothing else but to please him and puts in extra hours to make sure that happens. Pushkin’s wife begins to take a special interest in Rudi. She brings him food to eat when she hears he doesn’t eat with the other students.
With the ambition to be the lead dancer, Rudi begins to fraternize with the dancers who are part of the company, but unfortunately are French. When he requests to go out with them, he’s followed constantly by Soviet agents, watching his every move, with whom he speaks and what he says. He soon befriends a young French girl by the name of Clara Saint, who happens to be from a wealthy family, but is grieving the recent loss of her boyfriend.
After receiving reports of the time that Rudi spends with the French, one of his Soviet handlers gives him a warning about his actions. Soon, he is told that he will be transferred to a new dance company in Russia, but another dancer, an older woman, requests that he be her new partner in the company in Paris. She sees his talent and wants to make herself look better with a younger partner. Rudi quickly becomes one of the most well-known dancers in Paris, receiving praise for his spirited, graceful performances.
However, something else is brewing, about which Rudi knows nothing. He continues his life in Paris every day training, performing and then going out with his Parisian friends. However, when it’s time for the Soviet troupe to continue on to London, Rudi mysteriously receives a different assignment. Desperate for his freedom and not wanting harm to come to his mother who still lives in the Soviet Union, Rudi has to quickly decide where his priorities lie.
THE WHITE CROW is an idiom that refers to someone who is pleasantly unusual and stands out from the crowd. This phrase is meant to describe Rudolf Nureyev, a dancer who has been acclaimed as one of the greatest of all time. Oleg Ivenko, who portrays Rudi, embodies the spirit of this man from head to toe. There are times during his performances that it almost looks as if he’s floating in midair. Although he is cocky in demeanor and attitude, he absolutely knows who he is, what he wants and what his abilities are. This movie is very well produced, with high production values and compelling, dramatic entertainment. The dynamic in the pursuit of freedom of expression in ballet and the oppression of the Soviet Union is absorbing and terrifying all at once.
However, there is little to no morality in this movie. Personal advancement and artistic expression are the driving forces for Rudi, and there is no moral compass or mention of God for guidance. Rudi pursues his own desires, ignoring the orders of his leaders, teachers and superiors. Rudi’s Romantic, lawless worldview dominates the movie, but it’s mitigated by the movie’s anti-communist depiction of the Soviet Union, and its positive depiction of the capitalist freedoms in the West, specifically France. Rudi is also helped by a wealthy French woman at a crucial moment.
Sadly, THE WHITE CROW contains some overt homosexual elements when Rudi comes to believe he’s a homosexual and has a fling with a male German dancer. Eventually, Nureyev died of homosexual-related AIDS in 1993, which should serve as a warning to everyone, especially those who embark on such a dangerous, self-destructive lifestyle. THE WHITE CROW also has some excessive, explicit nudity.
The lewd content in THE WHITE CROW will turn off media-wise moviegoers, including those who might be interested in the early life of Rudolph Nureyev, who remains one of the greatest, most talented ballet stars ever to grace the stage.
Set during the Cold War, THE WHITE CROW showcases the events leading up to the famous Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev’s defection to the West in 1961. Rudi is sent as a pupil to study dance in Paris and allowed to travel overseas. Totally aware of his prodigious talent, he comes into the classes with an arrogant attitude and quickly reaches the top. However, with the Soviets watching his every move, he becomes a target of accused treason because of his fraternization with French dancers and local people.
THE WHITE CROW is quite well produced. The two hours pass quickly, with high production values and compelling entertainment. However, personal advancement and artistic expression are the driving forces for Rudi, not God. So, Rudi’s Romantic worldview dominates the movie. THE WHITE CROW does have some strong anti-communist, pro-capitalist elements where the oppression of the Soviet Union is contrasted with the freedom of the West. This positive content is spoiled by lots of lewd content, including Nureyev’s homosexual fling with a male dancer. The lewd content in THE WHITE CROW will turn off media-wise moviegoers.