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Balanchine Biopic in the works

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Gulfstream Pictures is developing a biopic on the early years of the influential ballet choreographer George Balanchine.

David K. Israel is adapting from Elizabeth Kendall’s book “Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer.” Producers are Gulfstream Pictures partners Mike Karz and Bill Bindley.


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I am hoping fervently that this will be the true history of the revolutionary and post-revolutionary Imperial Theatre, avant-garde ballet, GB, Goloizovsky, Lopukhov, et al., as recounted by Slominsky and others including Kendall.

it's a biopic. I don't think it's a documentary.

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Wow, this could be really... I jump to the conclusion that the main interest here is to follow the book down the path of speculative hyper-interest in the relationship of GB and Lydia. If well done, then it could be enjoyable ---- fiction or non.

Yup. Sounds closer to fiction without the "non," but that such a project is even being contemplated is nice.

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I saw a portrayal of Balanchine in a play (Nikoli and the Others) with Michael Cerveris and he did manage to resemble Balanchine in his 40's---especially the same hairline.In the "Who's Who" he said he performed with the NYCB once in 'Vienna Waltzes'...as a waiter.

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Even if this film wins rave reviews, ballet insiders are bound to loathe it.

Ballet has such a small, pop culture footprint, that many people who love it, tend to be bitterly disappointed when the few ballet films that are made, fail to be unadulterated hagiographies about the people of the art form they love.

Many classical dance people remind me of some members of racial minority groups who become upset when Oscarbait films about minority lead characters inevitably fail to encapsulate the totality of that group's experiences in this country. (See The Help, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances with Wolves, The Joy Luck Club)

Any honest film about a man as revered AND complicated as Balanchine, is just a crap storm waiting to happen.

I suppose the film makers are counting on controversy to sell the film.

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It might not be that controversial in that the book is about a period of Balanchine's life that few perple know much about - so it will be a kind of prequel for most of us.

And it might focus as much on Balanchine's family and his small circle of friends up to the time they defected to Berlin. It could be a very nice sort of Chekhovian or Tolstioy/"Youth" chamber film with Balancine quietly taking in everything happening around him, like the freshly done Malevitch paintings on the walls of his father-in-law's study. There's also the year he took off to study music composition.

Hopefully Kendall will have some control over the film and keep it in bounds.

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Probably Kendall has little to no actual control - most authors not named J.K. Rowling don't have much, once they make a movie sale.

I doubt there will be any controversy. Balanchine isn't Steve Jobs. It sounds as if it could be a nice little biopic, if highly romanticized, which would follow Kendall to some extent. As Quiggin notes, even many ballet fans don't know that much about this time in Balanchine's life and the period is relatively unexamined in mainstream movie terms. It will be interesting to see how the politics of the era are treated.

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