The White Crow on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review – Ralph Fiennes

The White Crow
The White Crow, we’re told at the start, defines the title as an idiom used to describe a person who is unusual, extraordinary, not like others, and an outsider… and Rudolf Nureyev (newcomer Oleg Ivenko) definitely wants to get outside as his ultimate intention is defect from Russia to France.

Although he has talent, he clearly has a fair bit of arrogance since, after although he’s not picked for the first night’s performance out of all the ballet dancers available, he still maintains it won’t be long until everyone knows his name. In fact, note that that arrogance could go to the point where some could quite easily jeopardise their entire career.

After this, we go back to Leningrad, six years earlier, where he begins his training with Pushkin (Ralph FiennesThe LEGO Movie 2, who also directs). As the biopic continues, Nureyev says he learned to dance by taking his cues from how women dance, and he was gay at a time when it wasn’t at all easy to be as open about it as one can be today, although there’s also something undefined between him and Clara Saint (Adèle Exarchopoulos).

Rudolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko) and Clara Saint (Adèle Exarchopoulos)

The White Crow isn’t an essential movie, but is certainly worth a watch, including also for a brief shot of the Palace Square in St Petersburg. However, I did think this would be one of those films where they start off in Russian, and then go to English soon after, but it stays Russian throughout, bar the odd bit in French and English. There’s also a variety of filming techniques used, including the indoor scenes being shot on Super 16 to give a period feel. In addition, although the film is shot in 1.85:1 in the main, it changes to 2.39:1 for flashback black-and-white shots to when he was a child.

Oleg Ivenko is a very good actor, but hasn’t made any other films as of yet, according to IMDB. Based on this, I do look forward to seeing what he does next.

Also, it’s a 12-certificate, but as well as a bit fo fruity language, there are some moments of slight sexual tension, but perhaps not enough to warrant more than the 12-certificate it gets. In times gone by, this would’ve been a straight-forward 15-certificate, but then while a ’12’ means basically anyone can watch it, the film is unlikely to get a young audience.

Ralph Fiennes (left) as Pushkin.

The extras are as follows:

    Q&A with cast and crew (30:30): Filmed after a screening of the film, those in the hot seats are Ralph Fiennes, Oleg Ivenko, producer Gabrielle Tana and writer David Hare, all talking about making the film, including from Mr Fiennes how they wanted to find a dancer who could act, rather than an actor who could dance.

    We’re also told how there are people in the film who actually knew Nureyev and appear in small cameos, while they wanted mainly to film in Russia and France, they couldn’t get the funding to do that solely, so some of the filming was done in Serbia. IMDB also lists Croatia as a filming location.

    Oleg also says that in relation to Nureyev. “I could feel him inside myself”. Oo-er, missus! 😉

    This piece is hosted by Edith Bowman from Radio 1… presuming she’s still on Radio 1. I haven’t listened to Radio 1 in quite some time, and most radio stations in general, since most were taken over (and ruined) by the likes of Bauer and Global.

    Rudolf Nureyev: The Legend Behind The White Crow (3:43): A very brief ‘making of’-style piece, made so TV stations can slot it in as and when required.

    Ralph Fiennes and Oleg Ivenko in conversation (3:17): I was hoping for a long piece with this, but it’s made in a similar style to the second piece. The Q&A is still the go-to piece for in-depth discussion.

    Interviews with cast and crew (19:02): Six interviews which can be played separately, or all together. They’re typical Q&A pieces where the ‘Q’ is a caption, and then the interviewee gives the ‘A’. Similarly, this is something that TV stations can slot into pieces they put together about the film, as and when required.

    There’s David Hare, Adèle Exarchopoulos (Clara Saint), Chulpan Khamatova (Xenia), producer Gabrielle Tana, composer Ilan Eshkeri and make-up designer Lizzi Lawson Zeiss.

The main menu features clips from the film to Tchaikovsky’s The Swan Lake, Op. 20, Th12 – N4 Pas De Trois (yes, I used Shazam). Subtitles are in English only and there’s the bog-standard 12 chapters, although I go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes, so that would make 25 by my book.

The White Crow is released today on Blu-ray, DVD and Amazon Video.

The White Crow – Theatrical Trailer


Running time: 127 minutes
Year: 2019
Distributor: Studiocanal OPTBD4271R0
Released: August 5th 2019
Chapters: 12
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD-MA
Languages: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (Super 16), 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Hawk Scope)
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Ralph Fiennes
Producers: Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Ralph Fiennes, François Ivernel, Andrew Levitas, Gabrielle Tana
Screenplay: David Hare
Novel: Julie Kavanagh (“Rudolf Nureyev: The Life“)
Music: Ilan Eshkeri

Rudolf Nureyev: Oleg Ivenko
Pushkin: Ralph Fiennes
Teja Kremke: Louis Hofmann
Clara Saint: Adèle Exarchopoulos
Yuri Soloviev: Sergei Polunin
Alexinsky: Olivier Rabourdin
Pierre Lacotte: Raphaël Personnaz
Xenia: Chulpan Khamatova
Michael Jones: Zach Avery
Helena Romero: Mar Sodupe
Claire Motte: Calypso Valois
Strizhevsky: Aleksey Morozov