Nureyev: A Portrait

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This biographical documentary by Patricia Foy was made towards the end of Rudolf Nureyev’s life when his health was visibly beginning to decline. Although his illness is not directly acknowledged, one senses Nureyev’s awareness of the significance of this film from the candid and reflective manner in which he shares anecdotes and observations from his life.

The documentary charts the key events in the famous dancer’s life—his childhood in Ufa, his first experience of dance, his defection and friendship with Erik Bruhn, and his impact on male dancing in general. Nureyev’s legendary partnership with Fonteyn is naturally a focus of the program, before Foy turns to Nureyev’s work with choreographers such as George Balanchine and Glen Tetley, and his relationship with the Paris Opera Ballet. Among the interviewees are Ninette de Valois, Margot Fonteyn, David Wall and Sylvie Guillem. The film is also peppered with generous excerpts of Nureyev’s performances, including Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Pierrot Lunaire, as well as his memorable appearance with Miss Piggy in 1977!

This film has been repeatedly re-issued on DVD (most recently by Kultur) so please be aware that DVD cover designs may vary.

Keen to discover more about Nureyev’s life? You may also like to view Patricia Foy’s Fonteyn and Nureyev: The Perfect Partnership and Teresa Griffiths’ Nureyev: Dancing through Darkness which takes a closer look at his final years.

Region Code: 0
Format & Aspect Ratio: NTSC and PAL available, 4:3
Number of discs: 1
Run time: 90 minutes
Film date: 1991
Studio: EMI Classics, Kultur and others