This striking documentary from BAFTA nominated directors, Jacqui Morris and David Morris, traces the extraordinary life of Rudolf Nureyev, the most famous male dancer that transcended fame in the dance world to become a pop culture icon of his time. It charts his rise from humble beginnings, to his eventual defection to the West, an event that shocked the world. The film features never-before-seen footage and contextualizes not just the man, but also the times in which he lived, discussing the politically charged divide between Russia and the West and the critical role that Nureyev played as a cultural and global phenomenon.
A quarter of a century after Nureyev’s death his story has never been more relevant. His defection put into stark relief conflicting values of the time – the Russian government’s overt hostility towards homosexuality standing in counter point to Nureyev’s status as global icon, unapologetically open about his sexuality over half a century ago. With a legacy in the dance world flowing from Mikhail Baryshnikov to the current era of Marcelo Gomes, Carlos Acosta and Sergei Polunin, this documentary exuberantly demonstrates why Nureyev is still widely considered the finest male ballet dancer ever to grace the stage.