Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Plunging into the beautiful-yet-harsh world of Russian ballet, director Valery Todorovsky maps out the heartbreak, petty politics and wide-eyed dreams of aspiring ballerinas. The tale of a hopeful young girl swept up in currents of dance unfolds against the backdrop of Tchaikovsky’s own majestic ballets.
Bifurcated between the story of Julia (Margarita Simonova) as a young girl leaving her family in the provinces to pursue ballet in Moscow and her struggles as a woman trying to balance her career with all the things she gave up to dance—her struggling family, lost chances at love, friendships turned into rivalries—The Bolshoi careens through twists and turns, dreams dashed and put back together again. Todorovsky imbues his characters (played by real ballerinas!) with the delicate psychological insight of a novelist, plumbing the depths of the relationships between Julia, her friend/rival Karin and their brusque, no-nonsense instructor (Alisa Freyndlikh). At times funny, sad, uplifting and heartbreaking, the film strives for authenticity while keeping the audience on its toes.
"Moving and entertaining, The Bolshoi is a majestic treasure that succeeds on the big screen."—Simon Foster, Screen-Space