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"My Dad, Baryshnikov tells the story of Boris Mikhailovich Fishkin (Dmitrii Vyskubenko), a short yet gangly student at the Moscow Choreographic Institute, the world-famous ballet academy and feeder school to the Bolshoi Ballet."

"The film’s screenwriter-director Dmitrii Povolotskii himself studied at this same academy and worked for seven years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His experiences seem reflected in the film’s grounded and balanced view of both the school and ballet in general. The film acknowledges the extreme discipline and rigor maintained at the school, even if it is sometimes suggested to be a vestige of a past era, but we also witness the tremendous pressures faced by school administrators—for example, we see the head of the school (Liudmila Titova) entertain a telephone call from Raisa Gorbacheva."

"What is perhaps most interesting about the film is that it manages to pull off a thematic switcheroo and ends up not really being about dance at all. In many dance films, the protagonist is first exposed to and then masters dance across the course of the narrative, but here we begin with our hero already a practitioner, and at the most prestigious ballet academy to boot. The story arc of this film actually pulls Boris away from dance, and the figure of Baryshnikov functions as merely a cipher, endowed with ambitions of Boris that prove mutable and inconstant. Baryshnikov is dance supremacy, but he is also manliness, independence, freedom, and the West. At the beginning of the film, when the school’s director declares that there will be no perestroika at the academy, Boris’s voiceover announces that what he really wants is freedom. But what kind of freedom does he seek? We see Boris and his pals outside of school secretly hawking various emblems of Soviet kitsch to foreigners."


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