Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nureyev on Facebook!

Moze wrote me an email about a week or so ago with the subject heading "Facing Facebook". Indeed! Since FB changed its rules around how to setup group and fan pages, this turned into a wee Herculean task but now we are up and running and all is well. So check us out on Facebook!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rehearsals begin!

This week I had the great pleasure of beginning one of my favourite things to do in life: watch my oldest friend in the world make his newest film, Nureyev. I am talking of course about Moze, whose beautiful work as a filmmaker has already been proven to the world. (If you are new to his movies, check out my other blog on Moze's previous film, Roxana or check out his Wikipedia page.)

Although rehearsals began on Tuesday, I could not come until Thursday - but it was an auspicious day to start. Both Nico Archambault, who is playing Nureyev, and Greta Hodgkinson, who is playing Fonteyn, were working with choreographer Matjash Mrozewski on one of the key sequences in the film, a dance montage of Nureyev's interface as a young dance superstar with the world of the New York glitterati. In some ways, there was a lovely irony in the situation, as young dance superstar Nico interfaced with the glitterati of the Canadian ballet world! The combination of talents present was immediately compelling, and even in this lowkey rehearsal it was easy to see the powerful possibilities of the work to come.

Moze's film is not intended to be a full biography in the usual sense. Anyone familiar with his work knows that a Moze Mossanen movie always works in the abstract emotional and psychological space of the main heros. Characters move between worlds and often between physical locations and suggested landscapes of time within a few simple movements. Moze tells me that in this film, he is taking his inspiration from Carlos Saura's phenomenal dance films. Moze and I have both been a fan of the legendary Argentinian filmmaker for a long time. While I tend to think of Tango as a reference here, Moze suggests that Saura's Flamenco is a closer parallel. In Nureyev, there is no attempt to tell a strict life story - but instead to live out the psychological development of an artist in a very particular time and circumstances as he attempts to hold on to his own identity amid crushing challenges.

Great to see Greta Hodgkinson again. Equally at home in a film rehearsal as on the great ballet stages of the world, she is always unaffected and easy to be around. And exciting to meet Nico! The So You Think You Can Dance sensation and first season winner was easygoing as he shadowed Matjash and learned the sequence, or kibbitzed and rehearsed with Greta. The modern dance sensibility he brings to the project alongside his massive talent allow for a wonderful window on how the Russian dancer Nureyev might have felt, alone in a brand new world while also the toast of it. Nico's strength and passion as a dancer make him a great fit for this project.

At one point, assistant set and costume designer Sarah Armstrong dropped in and took measurements while the performers were in a break. Production associate Mikey Lalonde seemed to be wearing about six hats at once, as he videorecorded rehearsals, kept track of production details and even ran to Tim's for everyone's lunch.

And of course, there is Moze, who always amazes me with how calm and relaxed he appears in rehearsal, as if he was the visitor and someone else was about to helm a film of this kind of vision and scope. Moze will weigh in as we go forward with the blog, often offering us his own thoughts, just as he did on Roxana. Stay tuned!