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

  • Girl, 10, Loses Life Saving Two Toddlers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kiera Larsen, a vibrant and heroic ten year old, was tragically run over by an SUV as she and two younger children, whom she saved, played in the driveway of the family’s country home in Lakeside, California.

     
  • Kristen Bell And Michael B. Jordan To Host Academy's Sci-Tech Awards

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Actors Kristen Bell and Michael B. Jordan will host the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards on Saturday, February 15, at The Beverly Hills Hotel.  They will present 19 awards to 52 individual recipients during the evening.

     
  • "Hollywood Takes To The Air" At The Academy With Craig Barron And Ben Burtt

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt will explore the side-by-side advances in filmmaking technology and aviation at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' four-evening series "Hollywood Takes to the Air" beginning on Thursday, August 14, at 7 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

     
  • Money News: Paris Terrorist Attack Sends Investor Confidence Plummeting; Dow, European Markets Close Down, Asian Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attacks sent reverberations throughout the world as investors remained shaken and concerned. The December Jobs Report, released from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, heralding another success for the Obama Administration couldn't save the Dow Jones Industrial Market from sustaining heavy losses.

     
  • Fire in Guatemalan Children’s Home Kills 22 Teenage Girls; Dozen Injured

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    An intentionally set fire in a Children's Home, meant to provide a place of safety from the threats of family or street violence, became a death trap for 22 teenage girls as the fire became a raging inferno.

Crime

  • Kayaker Body Found Identified as Missing Fiance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Murdered kayaker Vincent Viafore, reported missing by Angelika Graswald, his fiancee, has been found in the murky waters of the Hudson River where he was last seen in early April as the two enjoyed a recreational boating trip.

     
  • Central Park Five Settles Decade Long Civil Suit

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Central Park Five, found guilty in a sham trial for the vicious sexual assault and attempted murder of a white investment banker jogging in Central Park in spring 1989, have settled a decade long civil suit, for $40 million, with New York City.

     
  • Ariel Castro Accepts Plea Deal; Sentencing Hearing Scheduled

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held three women captive in his East side residence for over a decade, has accepted a plea deal arrangement sentencing him to life in prison plus 1000 years. 

     
  • Robert Durst Charged With Susan Berman Murder; Extradited to Los Angeles

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robert Alan Durst, the son of the New York millionaire real estate mogul Seymour Durst, was arrested in New Orleans and extradited to Los Angeles in the execution style murder of Susan Berman, a Beverly Hills writer and friend.

     
  • Three Women Missing a Decade Found Alive

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, three Cleveland, Ohio, women, who had been missing for over a decade, were found alive held captive together, after a stunning escape.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Review - Compact, Beautiful, Informative

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In My Footsteps, A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, from author Christopher Sutterland and Schiffer Publishing, presents a comprehensive guide to one of the most iconic and affluent summer island destinations on the Eastern Seaboard.

     
  • Honeymoon In Vegas Review – Go For The Music, Stay For The Elvis Impersonators

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Writing reviews to send out is actually quite difficult for me.  The truth is, I’m a theatre snob, and I’m pretty hard to please.  Without creative geniuses such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, or even Stephen Sondheim, it’s hard for me to give my endorsement.  Not this time.  You will love ‘Honeymoon In Vegas’.

     
  • Blue Man Group Review - Fresh, Fun, Loud and Messy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I had seen the famed Blue Man Group Las Vegas show before albeit more than a decade ago. Even so, I recently proceeded to secure tickets to see what has since become a Vegas entertainment staple. I wondered how, or if, this show had evolved so it would seem fresh and new the second time around.

     
  • Season of Salt and Honey Review - Charming Depiction of Twists and Turns Life Serves Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Season of Salt and Honey, a novel by Hannah Tunnicliffe, is another page turner penned with her skillful artistic strokes adding layers of human emotions intertwining untimely heartache and natural healing process with the magic remedies of culinary creations.

     
  • Andre Mieux A.M.X: World R U Ready

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A.M.X. is a multi-talented R&B artist whose star is rising fast in the music industry with fans starting to take notice of his original sound. A.M.X., also known as Andre Mieux, is a singer, songwriter and music producer who has talent, charm and uniqueness as an artist.