Documentary 'Dancer' gracefully captures turmoil within Segei Polunin

Ukraine-born ballet superstar Sergei Polunin loves to dance but doesn’t always know why he’s dancing. That internal conflict is at the heart of Steven Cantor’s sensitive, luxuriantly filmed documentary about the princely, magnetic Polunin, “Dancer,” a title that in the 26-year-old artist’s eyes could variously be a badge of honor or a provocation.

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

A jubilant, talented child born in poverty-stricken Kherson, Polunin’s obvious talent earned him a place at London’s Royal Ballet School for training. In record time he was named a principal at the Royal Ballet: at 19, making him the youngest ever. But separated from his family — who sacrificed everything for him to the extent that the parents’ marriage suffered — Polunin’s ambition soured and veered toward cynical burnout, which led to behavior that earned him a reputation as ballet’s bad boy.

And yet Cantor’s movie, which includes captured backstage footage and interviews with his mother, father, and supportive friends, is no sensationalistic brushstroke (despite the use of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” at the beginning). From memorable, early home videos depicting a graceful boy and physically commanding teenage prodigy to the fiercely emotional, tattooed star of the David LaChapelle-directed “Take Me to Church” video that became a viral sensation last year and helped reignite Polunin’s desires, “Dancer” becomes a gentle inquiry into how a gifted performer disrupts his life in order to test his passion.

-------------

‘Dancer’

In English, Russian and Ukrainian with English subtitles 

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

photo Documentary 'Dancer' gracefully captures turmoil within Segei Polunin images

photo of Documentary 'Dancer' gracefully captures turmoil within Segei Polunin

Article Documentary 'Dancer' gracefully captures turmoil within Segei Polunin compiled by Original article here

Relax Documentary 'Dancer' gracefully captures turmoil within Segei Polunin stories

Tears and wry laughs fuel Chris Kelly's insightful 'Other People'

Darkly funny, enormously moving and wonderfully observed, writer-director Chris Kelly’s “Other People” makes a fine companion piece to the recent “The Hollars,” another strong, idiosyncratic, real-life-inspired film about an adult son’s return home to be with his ill mother. Watching “Other People,”

Grindhouse-style 'Happy Birthday' talks its sadistic head off

There’s a fine line between mocking obnoxious bro behavior and celebrating it, and writer-director Casey Tebo’s “Happy Birthday” too often falls on the wrong side of the divide. Though well-acted and stylish, this meta-grindhouse exercise strains under its own self-satisfied cleverness.

More stories

Recent Post

Recent movies