Polina Review - Breathtaking Magic, A Captivating Masterpiece

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Polina, from Oscillscope Laboratories, presents the story of an artist, a beautiful, dedicated, dancer who is poised on greatness when she diverts her path and is shattered then from those fragments of her choices she creates enchanting poetry.  

Directed by Valerie Muller and Angelin Preljocaj, Polina stars Veronika Zhovnytska as the young Polina and Anastasia Shevtsova as the adult Polina with Juliette Binoche as Liria Elsaj, Aleksei Guskov as Bojinski, and Miglen Mirtchev as Anton and Kseniya Kutepova as Natalia. Polina was written by Valeria Muller based on the novel of the same name by Bastien Vives.

We met Polina as her mother, Natalia, played by Kseniya Kutepova, accompanies her to the first day of auditions for the Ballet Academy. She along with group of pre-pubescent girls are all undergoing the cursory and first phase rejection: measured, height, leg length, illnesses all recorded, and finally, if all is perfect accepted to trained under the watchful eye of Bojinski, played by Aleksei Guskov.

Ballet of course becomes the life of our young Polina, played by Veronika Zhovnytska, who explains to her dad, Anton, played by Miglen Mirtchev, who is overjoyed at her success as he knows she will be Prima Ballerina one day.

The next scenes are filled with training and attempts to please Bojinski and wondering why, as she already knows she is the best why he doesn’t see it; Family, Polina helping her mother, hunting for dinner in the woods with her father.

We are given a hint at what lies in her soul as she walks home one day in the winter, the young girl breaks in an impromptu contemporary dance spontaneously choreographed, she is a dancer and for her she is living her dream.


Dalida Review – French Bio-Pic Captivates


Soon time passes and nine years has come and gone and Polina, now, played by Anastasia Shevtsova, having earned the respect of her instructor freely asks him about his life. Time has come for the audition, she has worked for her entire young life, acceptance into the Bolshoi, Russia’s Premiere Ballet Academy.

It is here that she meets a young French dancer, Adrien, played by Niels Schneider, who has come to Russia to audition for the Bolshoi also. At the end of the day, she is in; he is not.

For her parents, Natalia and Anton, the effort, hard work on both sides, the acceptance of unsavory positions to earn more money, even borrowing money from the local loan shark, to make sure her tuition doesn’t lapse, this moment is the pinnacle of every dream, every hope, and worth every hardship. They will be the parents of a Prima Ballerina at the Bolshoi.

The scene in which Polina explains to her mother that she is going to spend some time in the South of France and study contemporary dance with Adrien, is brilliant. Natalia ends all the nonsense talk from her daughter in a rare display of out of control emotion. It is exceptional.

The film moves into Act II at this point and what began with such hope, young love, and belief ended leaving Polina out, alone, determined, skilled, educated and driven, in Paris where she finds herself broke and homeless.

Polina is a masterpiece. More than really liking this film, it was captivating from the beginning. It is attention grabbing and remains that way.

While not a true story it could be considered a compilation of stories gathered the world over from every gifted and driven artist; innate knowledge of position, the decision to follow the inner voice over the protestations of those whom you love; you are the heartbeat of your artistic expression and it feeds you, fuels you and keeps you when the money runs out, the food is scarce and homelessness is better than returning to mediocrity or simply expectation.


Celebrity Interview: Speaking with Phil Rudd of AC/DC on New Album and Euro Tour



The filmmakers handle these hurdles with grace, our Polina moves to Paris, runs out of money, fortunately she is a classically trained dancer and doesn’t need or desire much food, and her homelessness is short lived or so it appears in the film. Sleeping in the 24 hour laundry, she stashes her day and night wardrobe behind the dryer.

Her inner artist is driven and like many, with similar stories, the fates after endurance through the storm seem to smile, briefly, and the door to the next chapter opens. This of course happens here, and for the audience, the brief glimpse of Polina as a child, dancing to her own beat, with movements untaught, unknown, choreographed instantaneously performed become the yet to be realized future.

The cast, gifted and well trained, is relatively unknown for American audiences except for Juliette Binoche. When Ms. Binoche enters, the film takes on elevated expectation.

An exceptional film, Polina has all the benchmarks of an early Oscar favorite as it highlights the hardships of artistic expression and what some artists face, even those in America, for their craft. The feeling of disappointing those whom you love, accusations of misplaced loyalties, devotion and allegiances. Of holding on to the impossible dream and all that work and this is it.

Polina is mesmerizing, poetry in motion.  An absorbing and compelling film Polina brings the journey, that nearly every artist in any discipline can add colors to the sketch, of the artist finding a place where the heart beat’s to fulfillment.   

In English subtitles, Polina commands the attention of centerstage. It is a wonderful film.

Polina opens, in limited release in the United States, on August 25, 2017. 

Haute Tease

  • The Annual NYC “Join The Voices! Run/Walk” in Central Park

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Voices Against Brain Cancer, in partnership with New York Road Runners, will host its annual “Join the Voices! Run/Walk” on Sunday, December 2, 2012 in Central Park, New York at 8:15am.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Wins; Putin; Greece; Tunisia; Boston Bomber; James Taylor; James Horner

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel reacted swiftly in a rare Sunday call to the news of the impending bank failure in Greece and agreed to assist the Eurozone to bring the nation back from the brink of financial failure.

     
  • Beltway Insider: African Agenda Global Challenge; ISIS; Malaysian MH370/MH17; Climate Win; Bill Cosby

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama plans a major announcement this week to compliment the twelve nation Asian Pan Pacific declaration that for the first time included environmental protection, from tundra to island ecosystems, coral reefs and rain forests, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

     
  • HL Arts: Ella Kogan, Clay Sculptress, Unveils Commanding, Extraordinary Collection

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Known for her visionary sculptures, Ella Kogan is an artist whose creativity and deftness come from something more than inspiration. As she herself attests, her ability to create this works of art comes from something of a higher power.

     
  • SF Arts: Thomas R. Schiff: Poetics of Distortion Two-Part Exhibition

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Harvey Milk Photo Center and SFArtsED Gallery are pleased to announce a book release and two-part exhibition, The Poetics of Distortion: Panoramic Photographs of the San Francisco Bay Area, by Cincinnati-based photographer Thomas R. Schiff. 

     
  • Jealousy (La Jalousie) Review – Potential Passion Falls Flat

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Jealousy "La Jalousie," from Distrib Films and Director Philippe Garrel,  presents a self congratulatory look back at the power men have over the women who adore him and finally in full circle understands the all consuming power of the lover who leaves.

     
  • James Whitey Bulger Denied New Trial

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James Whitey Bulger, the onetime leader of Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang, has been denied a new trial by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a recent decision that held scathing remarks for Bulger Attorney Hank Brennan.

     
  • Debbie Reynolds, Actress, Author, Humanitarian, Legend, Dies One Day After Daughter Carrie Fisher

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Debbie Reynolds actress and screen sweetheart of the 1950's and 1960's was rushed to the hospital after suffering a medical emergency while she planned her daughter's, actress Carrie Fisher's, funeral. Ms. Reynolds passed away. She was 84.

     
  • OSCAR Nominees React: Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, Naomie Harris, Michelle Williams, Viggo Mortensen, Isabelle Huppert

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LION, Moonlight, Elle, and Captain Fantastic, such diverse stories, as a boy is lost, a young man struggles to find life, a woman assaulted, with vengeance, hunts for the attacker and parents deeply isolate themselves to raise a family.

     
  • Ariel Castro Found Hanged to Death in his Cell

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ariel Castro, the man found guilty of holding three Cleveland women hostage for over a decade and sentence to life plus 1000 years in prison, was found hanged to death in his prison cell.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Takes Asia; Rekindles Putin Bromance; VA Reform; Alabama; Singles Day; Veterans Remembered; Liz Smith

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump met with world leaders, including an unplanned meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the fifth Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit held in Manila, Philippines capping his ten day, five nation, visit.

     
  • Holiday Home Cooking: Diestel Turkey Review - When Only the Best Will Do

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the holiday season quickly approaches, preparations for family gatherings including choosing the menu, that could include a variation of poultry, meats, seafood and pasta now include planning for leftovers which has become as popular as the main meal itself.

     
  • The Midway Gallery Presents: She Bends: Women in Neon April 5, 2018 - June 2, 2018

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Midway Gallery is pleased to present She Bends: Women in Neon, the largest, most inclusive all-female neon exhibition ever assembled. Curated by Bay Area neon artist Meryl Pataky She Bends features 32 artists who challenge convention.

     
  • The Magic Kingdom, Plagued by Production Delays, Reshuffles its 2014 Slate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    One week after Walt Disney Studios announced the delay of the much anticipated “Pirates of the Caribbean 5,” Disney Pixar announced the delay of two of its animated projects leaving the summer 2014 tent pole season sagging.

     
  • Get Buzzed - New Neuroscience Technology Offers Treatment for PTSD And Anxiety Disorders

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Buzzies, a micro pulsating handheld devices, are making new waves in the psychological field as a non-invasive treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and other extreme stress conditions brought on by traumas.