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I Am a Dancer

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • I Am a Dancer offers solid technicality & cherished moments for Nureyev fans, though lacks revelation.

    I Am a Dancer Blu-ray Front Cover

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  • Video
  • I Am a Dancer's Blu-ray, from Film Movement Classics in 1080p and 1.33:1, varies in quality: rehearsal footage appears fuzzy with yellowish grain, while performance clips are clearer with refined grain and vibrant colors.

  • Audio
  • 'I Am a Dancer' boasts an adequate LPCM 2.0 Mono track, mixing Bryan Forbes' narration with dialogues among Nureyev and peers, and varies musically from rehearsal piano to occasional orchestral pieces.

  • Extra
  • Features insights on Nureyev & Fonteyn (23:22) and I Am a Dancer (8:36) in 1080p, with trailers for dance/music films and an 'About Film Movement' section plus an engaging essay in the booklet.

  • Movie
  • I Am a Dancer offers brief, curated glimpses into Nureyev's career & ballet, appealing to fans despite its minimal depth and staged content, reflecting a greatest hits approach to classical arts.

    Video: 67

    I Am a Dancer" graces the Blu-ray scene courtesy of Film Movement Classics, sporting an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The transition to HD subtly underscores the inherent divide in visual fidelity between the film's candid rehearsal footage and its meticulously captured performance sequences. While the release's insert booklet mentions a generic HD restoration, the actual experience is a nuanced story of variance in video quality.

    The rehearsal footage, presumably intended to offer an unvarnished glimpse behind the curtain, unfortunately, bears the brunt of visual shortcomings. Characterized by a somewhat fuzzy appearance and a prevalent, coarse, yellowish grain structure, it contrasts starkly with the more polished interstitial segments. These performance scenes reveal an appreciably enhanced clarity and a refined grain presence, creating a visual disconnect within the same presentation.

    Color representation further delineates the two facets of this release. The candid sequences manifest a diminished vibrancy, presenting a palette that seems washed out and lacking in dynamism. On the other hand, the actual performance clips leap from the screen with vivacity, showcasing a richness and depth in color that breathes life into the dancers' movements. Despite these inconsistencies, "I Am a Dancer" on Blu-ray endeavors to balance authenticity with aesthetic appeal, offering a video presentation that, while uneven, ultimately enriches the viewing experience.

    Audio: 67

    The audio presentation of “I Am a Dancer” on Blu Ray is delivered through a LPCM 2.0 Mono track, providing a straightforward yet effective auditory experience. This mono track, although lacking the depth and immersion of more contemporary multi-channel sound designs, capably handles the documentary's diverse sound elements. The narration by Bryan Forbes serves as a guiding thread throughout the piece, offering clarity and engagement without overwhelming the essential sounds of dance—be it the taps of ballet shoes on the studio floor or the swish of costumes in motion.

    Integral to the documentary's ambiance are its various audio components, from the intimate conversations between luminous figures such as Nureyev, Fonteyn, and Ashton to the more subtle sounds of rehearsal environments. These elements are captured with a crispness that respects their original qualities, allowing the viewer to feel closer to the action. The LPCM track faithfully reproduces these dialogues and environmental sounds, offering an authentic listening experience that complements the visual content.

    Moreover, the contrast between the simple rehearsal piano pieces and the richer orchestral accompaniments used in certain sections is well managed. The audio transition between these musical expressions is seamless, maintaining an auditory coherence that enhances the overall viewing experience. Despite the inherent limitations of a mono track, this audio presentation successfully supports the documentary’s aim to immerse viewers in the world of dance, ensuring that the film’s musical and conversational elements are communicated with integrity and clarity.

    Extra: 42

    The extra features of the Blu Ray presentation of "I Am a Dancer" serve as a fantastic complement to the main feature, enriching the viewing experience significantly. The highlight is undeniably the insightful commentary by Terese Capucilli on the legendary duo of Nureyev and Fonteyn, presented in crystal-clear 1080p quality, which not only offers personal reflections but also deepens the historical context of their performances. Equally compelling, though shorter, is Skylar Brandt's perspective on the film itself, providing a fresh, modern take on its significance in today’s dance world. Additionally, the inclusion of trailers for other music and dance offerings from Film Movement adds value, while the “About Film Movement” feature and the accompanying booklet with Kenji Fujishima’s essay offer a broader understanding of the film’s cultural place and the movement behind it. The overall package is a thoughtful curation that elevates the appreciation of the film and its subjects.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Terese Capucilli on Nureyev and Fonteyn: Capucilli shares personal insights and historical context on the iconic dance duo.
    • Skylar Brandt on I Am a Dancer: A fresh perspective on the film’s importance in the modern dance scene.
    • Trailers for Music and Dance Offerings: A selection of trailers from Film Movement’s catalogue.
    • About Film Movement: An informative text and trailer combination that explores the ethos behind Film Movement.
    • Booklet with Essay by Kenji Fujishima: An insightful essay that enhances understanding of the film's cultural significance.

    Movie: 57

    I Am a Dancer," a 1972 documentary focused on Rudolf Nureyev—and to a lesser extent, Margot Fonteyn—presents itself as a tantalizing opportunity for ballet enthusiasts to witness snippets of Nureyev's iconic performances intertwined with staged rehearsal footage. However, it ultimately delivers a somewhat disjointed viewing experience. The documentary's format, which aims to showcase Nureyev's artistry through a series of performances, succumbs to an oddly static feel despite being centered around the dynamic world of ballet. This has the effect of making the film feel more like a greatest hits compilation, akin to Liberace's approach to classical music, rather than offering a comprehensive insight into Nureyev's life or technique.

    For those seeking an expansive biographical exploration of Nureyev or a deep dive into his contributions to ballet, the documentary may fall short of expectations. Its focus is narrow, providing only fleeting moments with the legend on stage, interspersed with minimal commentary from significant figures like Fonteyn and legendary choreographer Frederick Ashton—which is notably scant and lacking in depth. Despite these limitations, there is undeniable appeal for aficionados of ballet and admirers of Nureyev, especially considering the rarity of his appearances on Blu-ray; aside from "I Am a Dancer" and his portrayal in "Valentino," significant performances like "Don Quixote" remain obscure.

    The documentary may interest those drawn to rarities within the ballet genre on Blu-ray or fans specifically of Nureyev, despite its fragmented offering of dance sequences. Its inclusion of a segment on more contemporary dance could be seen as a refreshing deviation from classical ballet, albeit brief. However, for viewers in search of a rich, detailed exploration of Nureyev's life or a comprehensive collection of his performances, "I Am a Dancer" might not fully meet those expectations, serving instead as a mere glimpse into the dancer's expansive repertoire.

    Total: 57

    I Am a Dancer" Blu-ray presentation serves as a modest yet essential addition to the library of ballet enthusiasts and aficionados of Rudolf Nureyev's legendary prowess. While it doesn't break new ground in revealing untold secrets about Nureyev's life or artistry, the charm of the Blu-ray lies in its provision of rare footage that allows fans to witness the ethereal grace and unmatched skill of Nureyev in motion. This aspect alone makes it a valuable collectible for those who revere the ballet icon's legacy.

    From a technical standpoint, the Blu-ray offers a respectable quality that does justice to the archival content. The video and audio restoration work respects the original recordings' integrity, ensuring that enthusiasts can appreciate Nureyev's performances with clarity and fidelity. Although not pioneering in technical enhancements or groundbreaking features, the Blu-ray delivers a solid presentation that complements the existing body of work celebrating Nureyev's remarkable career. This no-frills approach underscores a focus on content over spectacle, aiming to satisfy purists and dedicated fans seeking to immerse themselves in the artistry of ballet.

    In conclusion, the Blu-ray release of "I Am a Dancer" might not offer groundbreaking insights or revolutionary technical feats, but it stands out as a must-have for Nureyev enthusiasts and ballet connoisseurs. Its value lies in the rare glimpse it offers into the world of a ballet legend, delivered with sufficient technical quality to ensure an enjoyable viewing experience. For those devoted to preserving and celebrating the legacy of Rudolf Nureyev, this Blu-ray edition represents a respectful and cherished homage to one of ballet's brightest stars.