The White Crow: what is the purpose?

A week after the release in Italian cinema, The White Crow won the podium in the standings at the box office, although preceded by Arrivederci Professore in second place and Toy Story 4 in the first.

Ralph Fiennes’ film about the life of the Soviet dancer, begins on a running train, the one on which Rudolf Nureyev came into the world and goes on to tell the protagonist’s childhood and youth, through a stream of consciousness made up of temporal ellipses, without interruption or particular stylistic underlining, except in the parts that portray Nureyev as a child, in which the choice falls on black and white.

Focused on one of the crucial moments of his career and his life, the film tells the story of Nureyev’s first trip out of the Soviet Union, when he sets foot at the Paris Opera together with the other dancers of the Leningrad ballet and demonstrates who he is , determined to make a real revolution in the world of ballet, rendering justice to the figure of the male, subordinate until then, to that of his female partner. Beyond the biographical story more or less known to enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts, there are two points, as far as I am concerned:

– the first to know, to know, to see, in the part relating to the Parisian    context, in which Nureyev takes every opportunity to experience           the symbolic places of culture and art that the city offers;

– The second is the dialogue with the teacher and mentor Alexander Pushkin (played by Ralph Fiennes himself), in which the latter asks him what the ultimate goal of the dance is.

In the first I could not help but reflect on the young Nureyev’s foresight, on his ability to emerge, to go beyond, to have guessed how much the other arts, all the arts, from painting, to architecture, to literature, were indispensable to dance, as the relationship, the contamination of the same, would have been able to revitalize them over time, to add value to each language taken individually.

In the second, my thoughts turn around the meaning. What is the meaning of dance? Why does a dancer dance? To show a perfect technique? To entertain the public? None of the two. None of the endless answers certainly right, but accessory, compared to the true motivation that is valid for dance, painting, photography, poetry, etc. etc; none really important if at the base of everything, there is not a story, a point of view to express, a need to tell about one’s own personal tale.

The story, the urgency to say something, is equivalent to identity and not only when it comes to art or culture. The story is the differential, it is the project, it is the element of distinction between one subject and another, it is the substance. The story is one in which men and women identify themselves or not, the one for which remember. This happened to Nureyev and to many who, like him, managed to leave a footprint in the memory of humanity.

Anyway, we all have a story, so let’s ask ourselves: what is our language? How can we tell it better and make a difference in what we do?






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