- 2 hr 9 min
Nijinsky is a 1980 biographical drama film directed by Herbert Ross and based on the life of famed ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. The film stars Alan Bates as Serge Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, George De La Pena as Vaslav Nijinsky, and Leslie Browne as Romola de Pulszky, Nijinsky's wife. The film takes place during the latter years of Nijinsky's life, from his rise to fame as a ballet dancer to his eventual descent into madness. The film is told through a series of flashbacks, beginning with a young Nijinsky (played by De La Pena) joining the Ballets Russes in 1909.
From the beginning, Nijinsky is seen as a prodigy, capable of incredible feats of athleticism and grace. He begins as a member of the corps de ballet, but quickly rises through the ranks to become the company's star dancer.
As Nijinsky's fame grows, he catches the eye of Diaghilev (Bates), the company's founder and artistic director. Diaghilev sees in Nijinsky the potential for a new kind of ballet, one that would break with tradition and push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in the world of dance.
Despite their significant age difference, Diaghilev and Nijinsky begin a passionate love affair that lasts for several years. At the same time, Nijinsky becomes increasingly unstable, prone to bouts of paranoia and delusion.
As his mental state deteriorates, Nijinsky becomes convinced that he is God, and that his dancing has the power to control the world. He begins to incorporate increasingly bizarre and disturbing elements into his performances, leading to tension with Diaghilev and the rest of the company.
Throughout the film, there are flashbacks to Nijinsky's childhood and early years in the Ballets Russes, as well as scenes from his personal life, including his courtship of Romola de Pulszky (Browne) and his eventual marriage to her.
The film is notable for its stunning cinematography and choreography, as well as its intense and emotional performances by the three leads. De La Pena in particular is mesmerizing as Nijinsky, capturing both his incredible talent as a dancer and the disturbing nature of his descent into madness.
Overall, Nijinsky is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the complex relationship between art and mental illness. It is a must-see for fans of ballet and dance, as well as anyone interested in the life of one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century.
Nijinsky is a 1980 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.