What I’m Watching Now

turning

Ash and Kathryn and Raven had nothing but praise for Ballets Russes, a documentary about the trajectory of Serge Diaghliev’s masterpieces, which started in Paris and spread brilliance and charm throughout the world. Since I couldn’t watch it on Netflix I browsed dance movies and returned to The Turning Point, which I had seen around the time it debuted. Though it retains its glamour and beauty, the subtext that all male dancers are gay seems dated and ho-hum. Oh, and of course they aren’t. Exhibit One: Mikhail Baryshnikov, who chased anything in a skirt on screen and off. He’s less satyr-like in his role as Yuri, but the message is clear.

Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine carry the movie. The cinematographer put too much vaseline on the lens in the opening shots of the former, who plays Emma the ballerina about to go over the hill. Her age becomes obvious as the film progresses. MacLaine as Deedee looks just enough house-wife frumpy to be convincing as the dancer who gave up her career for a family.

The best parts of the movie, which garnered it multiple awards and nominations, of course are the dance performances, especially the scenes featuring Deedee’s oldest child, Emilia (ballerina Leslie Browne).

But now I’ve got a treat as the DVD of Ballets Russes arrived in the mail yesterday. I plan a watch fest over the weekend.

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