In the first scene of WHITE CROW, a bereft Pushkin (played by director and star Ralph Finnes) being questioned over the defection of Ruldolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko) by the state appartus. Pushkin is indifferent and seems to brush off as Nureyev is maligned. Inside this, you have unpacked a lot of the baggage Ralph Finnes bio pic must contend with. The well known story of a world famous ballet dancer, who fled to the west and became a figure for others, might sound like a worn track. In todays climate it might even sound slightly incendary, when you throw into the mix he was from a muslim family and bisexual. However Finnes and David Hare (the films scripter) head this off early on and in doing so build something interesting from its foundation. Nureyev travels to France with a Soviet Ballet company. He is a renegade and as the title suggests ‘unusual’. At least that is what the Russian slang for White Crow means. Growing up in the Stalin’s Soviet Union, as it begins closing the door to the west.
Finnes film is, for the most part actually David Hares film. For his script is what lifts it above the oridinary. This is not to say that WHITE CROW is not Finnes best directed piece. It is. Directed with panache. Something his other films had (I am thinking of course of his stellar CORIOLANIUS) but lacked over arching quality. In this it appears Finnes has blended the two and enabled the work to merge together. For the dance scenes become dynamic, the Paris scenes feel timely and the whole is molded by clever use of camera. The only downside is he acting. It often feels laboured. Limp. Finnes steals scenes (he would). Back to Hare script. Why is it s good? Well firstly it overcomes the trite acting. Then it fleshes out Nureyev. Delves into the thoughts of the time. Stirs the emotion. Building a piece. Hare is good at this. I cant say that it is among his best but it is the central reason the film works.
Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of the film and those who knew Nureyev in this compelling collection of special features.
Q and A With Cast and Crew
Director and actor Ralph Fiennes, star Oleg Ivenko, writer David Hare and producer Gabrielle Tana took part in a Q and A at the UK premiere of The White Crow, where they discussed the inception and production of the film with Edith Bowman.
Rudolf Nureyev: The Legend Behind The White Crow
A featurette exclusive to home entertainment including clips from the film, behind the scenes footage and commentary from the cast and filmmakers, as well as archival footage of Nureyev performing.
Ralph Fiennes and Oleg Ivenko In Conversation
Director and star Ralph Fiennes and Oleg Ivenko explore how they brought the characters of Pushkin and Nureyev to life and gave the film as much authenticity as possible.
Cast and Crew Interviews
A range of interviews featuring actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Chulpan Khamatova, screenwriter Sir David Hare, producer Gabrielle Tana, composer Ilan Eshkeri and make-up and hair department head Lizzi Lawson Zeiss.
They discuss their roles within the production and their experience of working with Ralph Fiennes and Oleg Ivenko.