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New BBC Fonteyn movie "Margot"

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What concerns me is that this will become the new historical truth.

"Were Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev really lovers? A riveting TV drama brings ballet's most passionate pairing back to life."

Did ballet make Margot Fonteyn 'really unhappy'?

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well don't know how long they'll be visible but here are 3 short fragments:

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Thanks, Mme. Hermine. It isn't much (and the third is even less). If I were in UK, I'd be watching. I might not like it (or I might :) ), but I'd watch.

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...But don't fret about missing it.

Too bad; look at this cast:

Margot also stars Sir Derek Jacobi as choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton; Penelope Wilton as Margot's mother BQ; Lindsay Duncan as Ninette de Valois, founder of The Royal Ballet...

Those three are worth watching in anything, no matter how bad it is.

Yes - within reason, and if they're committed to the material.

I agree with you about that Daily Mail article, Mashinka. I defended Daneman's book when it first came out, but the tone she takes here is borderline offensive:

They still think it would be worth it to be her, even though they know she led a relentlessly exhausting, romantically disappointing, politically idiotic, childless life, and had died in near poverty before they were born.

Yes indeed, some barren old woman without a fat bank account. What was the point? :)

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I, too, didn't really care for Daneman's article, a little hagiographic/gushy to begin (both about Margot and actor's abilities) and then not near the end. I'm also having a very hard time viewing the clips and stills from this new film. Maybe it's because I'm so aware of how they can cut to hide things, but no matter how tight the angle on the actors, their upper bodies simply do not ever move like a dancer's. People worry about whether an actor can dance on pointe?! I wonder whether their upper body's plastique, line, etc.etc. match the real dancers. And, that rarely, if ever, happens. But then again, it's only MHO, and I'm probably more critical than the general audience viewing this.

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I, too, didn't really care for Daneman's article, a little hagiographic/gushy to begin (both about Margot and actor's abilities) and then not near the end. I'm also having a very hard time viewing the clips and stills from this new film. Maybe it's because I'm so aware of how they can cut to hide things, but no matter how tight the angle on the actors, their upper bodies simply do not ever move like a dancer's. People worry about whether an actor can dance on pointe?! I wonder whether their upper body's plastique, line, etc.etc. match the real dancers. And, that rarely, if ever, happens. But then again, it's only MHO, and I'm probably more critical than the general audience viewing this.

Thank you for stating that so well. I so agree. At the same time I think that the audience for the film might be ballet goers. Even casual ballet goers would see that something is amiss even if they couldn't verbalize it.

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Apologies for the source, but as this piece is written by Meredith Daneman, Fonteyn's biographer, I consider it worth reading. Personally I'm not very taken by the tone of this article. Anyone want to comment?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/articl...man-legend.html

Mashinka, I wanted to return to your invitation to comment on this article(which I had at first chosen not to read given your above comment) and take in the subsequent two articles that have been discussed.

I have only today read this article which for me is an arrogance when you consider what the subject purports to be and how much the author talks about herself and her life events as if equating status with Dame Margot Fonteyn.

This article is both vulgar in content and writing style.

I had the good fortune to follow Dame Margot's career in London from September 1961 until her last performance.

I am also appalled at the style and tone of the recent Daily Mail and Telegraph articles concerning both Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev wherein the portrayals of these great artists of the dance have been re-invented by those who have had little contact with either of them and yet express opinions which cannot be substantiated.

Here in all three articles we find tabloid journalism when the status of the subjects, deserve an analysis of existing texts of their lives and especially testament made by colleagues

who knew them really well.

So far in books by various authors, there is a distinct problem in the use of oral history as regrettably, witnesses, too frequently begin to establish themselves as historical figures

with their contributions.

In the case of the subjects of this new film as presented in both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, there is a failure in journalism. The personality and facts of their lives get smothered in the welter of promoting the film as revealing something shocking or tawdry. Nor, do we find substantive evidence for the least savoury

comments made which innopac referred to, " What concerns me is that this will become the new historical truth."

Both Dame Margot and Rudolf Nureyev had had big hearts and a generosity of spirit. The vast majority of us will remember them for this and their relationships with hundreds of people whose names will neither appear in any book or newspaper article nor most probably any film, but who loved them.

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On the issue of using non dancers:

Never mind how they move, just standing in the still Duff is clearly not a dancer. Those un muscled turned in legs and the dead back foot, good grief! :speechless-smiley-003:

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I, too, didn't really care for Daneman's article, a little hagiographic/gushy to begin (both about Margot and actor's abilities) and then not near the end. I'm also having a very hard time viewing the clips and stills from this new film. Maybe it's because I'm so aware of how they can cut to hide things, but no matter how tight the angle on the actors, their upper bodies simply do not ever move like a dancer's. People worry about whether an actor can dance on pointe?! I wonder whether their upper body's plastique, line, etc.etc. match the real dancers. And, that rarely, if ever, happens. But then again, it's only MHO, and I'm probably more critical than the general audience viewing this.

Daneman was apparently an advisor for the movie and some of it seems to be based on her book, so it's understandable that there was a bit of gush. I don't think the general audience will find the differences as jarring as dancers and regular balletgoers, if the filmmakers have been canny enough. Unfortunately, there's no getting around the fact that you can't have truly effective dance sequences with body doubles.

I have only today read this article which for me is an arrogance when you consider what the subject purports to be and how much the author talks about herself and her life events as if equating status with Dame Margot Fonteyn.

I didn't care for Daneman's tone, but she is the author of what will probably stand as the standard biography and it's natural for her to be sought out as an authority. Whatever you think of the book overall, Daneman's research was considerable.

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Both Dame Margot and Rudolf Nureyev had had big hearts and a generosity of spirit. The vast majority of us will remember them for this and their relationships with hundreds of people whose names will neither appear in any book or newspaper article nor most probably any film, but who loved them.

I'm not defending tabloid trash or unsubstantiated gossip, but I think interest in the personal relationship between these two great dancers is natural. They were not just performers, they were people, and their personal relationship was important to both of them. To suggest that their private lives be completely off limits by biographers and filmmakers is kind of unrealistic.

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Thanks, Mme. Hermine, for the 3 clips. I imagine that BBC will want to keep them online as promotions for international sales.

Based on the clips alone, it seems that there will be a degree of concern for presenting the dance issues in their partnership. For example: Their beautifully restrained artistic disagreement as to whether or not Albrecht's face should be visible in a certain section of Giselle.

And there's a lot of ballet (of a sort) if you consider "ballet" to consist primarily of head shots, port de bras, feet unconnected with body, and a few back-lit shots of the doubles. I rather liked the trick by which Duff went onstage as Odile, disappearing for a second behind the side curtain, and the double emerged from the other side of the curtain, actually dancing.

I don't know either of these actors, but -- based on the clips only -- they have none of MF's and RN's physical magnetism, either in rehearsal or onstage. Jacobi's Ashton seems to have sucked up all the available charismatic energy on the set, leaving very little for the stars.

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To suggest that their private lives be completely off limits by biographers and filmmakers is kind of unrealistic.

Given your above statement, I first ask what is the justification for the intrusion when the examination or analysis of their artistic achievements which made them famous remains incomplete. Secondly where would you draw a line as to what is of prurient interest and thirdly what is the value of an academic biography as opposed to the literature of what Daneman and this new film presents.

Finally I would ask, where in your opinion, is the line to be drawn between the chimerical and a reasonable measured reality.

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Finally I would ask, where in your opinion, is the line to be drawn between the chimerical and a reasonable measured reality.
An excellent question. Speaking for myself, I have no idea of how to answer this, or draw the line, and am looking forward to people's suggestions.

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As this film appears to be about an unsubstantiated affair between Fonteyn and Nureyev surely it all comes under the heading of fiction rather than biography anyway, as all this speculation seems to be based on someone once spotting RN leaving MF’s hotel room at an early hour. That’s not much of a basis for assuming they were lovers in my book, but never mind, let’s make a film about it anyway, putting aside the inconvenient truth that Nureyev was gay and actually on record as saying how unappealing he found heterosexual union.

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As this film appears to be about an unsubstantiated affair between Fonteyn and Nureyev surely it all comes under the heading of fiction rather than biography anyway,

Of course you are right to state this, but, we are discussing a "drama" that purports to be biographical, in which a recommended biographer of Dame Margot, Meredith Daneman has been involved.

Dame Monica Mason regarding the film is quoted as stating, "'... that, after ten minutes, all she could see was her dear friend Margot." and Otto Bathurst comments, "Monica is a harsh critic. If she buys it, then we know we've done a good job. "

Curious is it not.

I shall be watching tonight with someone who knew Dame Margot much more than I did and I eagerly await others responses to this film.

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Dame Monica Mason regarding the film is quoted as stating, "'... that, after ten minutes, all she could see was her dear friend Margot."

Although I wouldn't venture to say that I could possibly know what was in her mind, it could be that at that point she had chosen to ignore everything else... :)

I rather liked the trick by which Duff went onstage as Odile, disappearing for a second behind the side curtain, and the double emerged from the other side of the curtain, actually dancing.

Has anyone ever seen that entrance done from stage right??? :clapping:

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Finally I would ask, where in your opinion, is the line to be drawn between the chimerical and a reasonable measured reality.
An excellent question. Speaking for myself, I have no idea of how to answer this, or draw the line, and am looking forward to people's suggestions.

Thank you for your reply and the idea of the question being addressed.

I am however sorry that I included it, as I was unfortunately more interested in eliciting responses to the first three questions.

PS

Tomorrow on "You Can Dance Canada." Nico Archambault hits the small screen as Rudolf Nureyev in the dance drama Nureyev (Bravo! at 9 p.m.).

“Both director and star make one thing clear: the film is not a biopic. Archambault is not imitating Nureyev, but interpreting and paying tribute to him..”

See: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/artic...-a-ballet-force

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As this film appears to be about an unsubstantiated affair between Fonteyn and Nureyev surely it all comes under the heading of fiction rather than biography anyway, as all this speculation seems to be based on someone once spotting RN leaving MF's hotel room at an early hour. That's not much of a basis for assuming they were lovers in my book, but never mind, let's make a film about it anyway, putting aside the inconvenient truth that Nureyev was gay and actually on record as saying how unappealing he found heterosexual union.

Several biographers of both F&N have said that it's just about impossible to sort out the differing stories, and people who knew F&N equally well can have completely opposing opinions in this matter. I wish there wasn't so much fuss about it, but there it is.

Nureyev was gay but it's acknowledged that he did have a few affairs with women. He was often openly misogynist but airing such views about women doesn't necessarily preclude a willingness to sleep with them, alas.

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Nureyev was gay but it's acknowledged that he did have a few affairs with women. He was often openly misogynist but airing such views about women doesn't necessarily preclude a willingness to sleep with them, alas.

As far as I understand, the question of the sexuality of a bi-sexual is not a particularly straightforward delineation.

If by gay you mean homosexual, he wasn't quite one hundred percent that delineation.

Mr Nureyev did have periods of monogamous relationships with men and indulged in non-monogamous relationships with men but less so with women some of whom were well known and remained lifelong friends. He was pursued as a sex object by many women but I never have heard that Dame Margot was amongst them.

As far as I understand that he was generally not polyamorous.

As to his mysogony, he retained warm, friendly and close relationships with a number of women over decades.

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I don't think we're disagreeing, leonid. Nureyev's primary attraction seems to have been to men, which is what I meant when I said, in agreement with Mashinka, that he was gay. He did occasionally have affairs with women as I also pointed out (although later in life he seems to have stuck with the guys), but I don't really consider Nureyev bisexual, although as you say there is room for discussion.

Nureyev's occasional misogynist outbursts are well known. And he did have many female friends.

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The film has been and gone.

The film began with a disclaimer acknowledging the "invention" in the telling of the story.

Having been prepared for the worst I was not deeply offended.

The story was told in very many short episodes.

When you are portraying real people using their names and the roles they played in real life, research and consultation with those who were part of the story could have given detailed advice as to how the characters should comport themselves and realise their actual mannerisms.

Almost everyone was wildly miscast and characterisations could easily have been more realistic in the hands of a different cast and director. There was no real casting to type.

When you could not recognise Margot's mother as one knew her, although she was well played given the script. Dame Ninette was unrecognisable as was Somes and Seymour. There was a touch of Ashton in Derek Jacobi's performance which could have been better if he had been better coached in Sir Fred's mannerisms not as an impersonation but in the way they defined his character. Anne-Marie Duff was both Duff by name and Duff in her portrayal which was very stagey, she has a hard jaw line, wide hips and ugly feet. Her make and hairstyling made her look a little like Dame Margot but without that gentle sweetness of the original or her diminutive stature.

The difference between film acting and ballet acting was pronounced, but thankfully, the close up dance scenes were mercifully short and a million miles away from the actual leading protagonists.

When the film finished and the credits rolled, almost the last legend read, Inspired by Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman. I and I am sure others, will never forget it.

Foolishly, I kept expecting verisimilitude whilst still knowing, that it could not be achieved.

There is a lot more that could be said.

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Given your above statement, I first ask what is the justification for the intrusion when the examination or analysis of their artistic achievements which made them famous remains incomplete. Secondly where would you draw a line as to what is of prurient interest and thirdly what is the value of an academic biography as opposed to the literature of what Daneman and this new film presents.

Finally I would ask, where in your opinion, is the line to be drawn between the chimerical and a reasonable measured reality.

Wow. All really serious questions, and I admit I'm maybe too vapid or easygoing to ponder the answers. Mostly I just view the film as entertainment, as I ultimately do with ballet. In fact I think that the fact that this is acknowledged to be a film for entertainment purposes makes it less offensive than something that purports to be "factual" and is actually full of speculation, innuendo, and gossip.

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:o I found the cast did not really get into the c haracters, and it was hard for me to reconise the people they were supposed to be. I was quite disapointed with the film. Whilst it featured things we alraedy knew about bout the subjects. However, the other two people of the series of Women we loved, I was much more comfortable with the portrayals, but cannot help wondering if it was because I never actually met or knew Enid Blyton or Gracie Fields. Is it due to the fact I still have a very clear picture of Margot and Ruddi, plus the others in my mind. I feel sure that they could have found different people to portray a number of renouned people in the dance world who could both act and dance.

The research that was undertaken regarding aesthetic issues must have been very minimal. Nothing was like the originals used by in particular by Margot. The costumes failed to look like the actual onrs, which was e mistake as there are plenty of photographs and video's available to refer to. This is surely the responsibility of the designer

No not for me, when you look at the clips from the documentaries posted earlier you realise that this play fails miserably to tell the story of Margo and Ruddi..

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In fact I think that the fact that this is acknowledged to be a film for entertainment purposes makes it less offensive than something that purports to be "factual" and is actually full of speculation, innuendo, and gossip.

The problem was that it the BBC billed it as both a DRAMA and a BIOGRAPHY and the biographical content need not have been an invention when the real story is interesting enough.

Film makers seem to think that viewers only need sensation to make them watch a film with biographical content. I doubt if that is true given both the age and interests of the target audience in this case. I think there is little evidence to suggest that young viewers in any great numbers would be attracted to such a film.

Being prepared for the worst by the advanced publicity, it failed to be sensational and was in fact a dull drive through territory familiar from previous

TV documentaries.

What no film can capture is the frisson that both of the artists in question created individually and as a partnership in the theatre and in the case of Dame Margot and Rudolf Nureyev off stage as well.

As an alternative/antidote See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26zYKpwBxjo or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4cRBQdnZJw...feature=related

and Dame Margot aged 47 as Juliet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvOFMvwD-CU

ADDED

Ps following scenes of the first "Giselle" that they danced at the Royal Opera House, the film cuts to a nude scene of sexual intercourse in Dame Margot's bedroom.

This film is indicated to be suitable for children under the age of 16.

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:o

I don't see Ansanelli bearing much of a resemblance to Fonteyn looks wise, other than they both have dark hair.

True, but Ansanelli is a dancer. (If the makers of "Isadora" back in the Sixties had cast Lynn Seymour as in the title role, she wouldn't have been an exact physical match, but in spirit and style she would have been as close to Isadora as anyone could have gotten.)

Duff also strikes me as a little young for the movie's time frame described in the article - she will be playing the middle aged Fonteyn, not the young dancer. So in the best of all possible worlds a suitable mature ballerina would be cast in the role, although no one springs to mind offhand.

It may be, of course, that the filmmakers don't intend on showing much if any dancing, in which case the project would indeed be worth very little....

Thanks for commenting, everyone! Keep posting.

(Edited to note that my comment was in response to Old Fashioned's post and not Helene's, which I didn't see before posting, and so I've altered this post slightly to reflect that.)

Has anyone out there seen the DVD "MARGOT"? It is a complete coverage of her life and dancing thus no need for a movie, i.e a phony portrait.

Nana: Yes,Smitty I have it and frequently watch it, everytime I do so, it is so "real" it brings memories flooding back. By the end I feel emotionally drained, as I can remember speaking to Margo before and after the performances, I had to be on duty to surpervise the costumes side of things. She was a relly lovely person, and I also knew Ruddi, I still have a pressed red carnation he gave me after a show (Raymonda) at The Baalbek Festival in The Lebanon. Poor Margo after such a long and dedicated career and her loyalty to a non deserving husband.The terrible suffering she endured at the end of her life, is heart braking I also have Meredith Daneman's Book.

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