Film Review: Dancing away from a repressive regime in ‘The White Crow’

A still from ‘The White Crow.’
Updated 08 November 2018
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Film Review: Dancing away from a repressive regime in ‘The White Crow’

  • The movie tells us the dramatic story of the famous ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to France in 1961
  • An unflinching look at the rigid Soviet political system and how it strangulated personal freedom

TOKYO:The third movie directed by Ralph Fiennes, “The White Crow,” which clinched the Best Artistic Contribution prize at the recent Tokyo International Film Festival, follows his earlier two dramas inspired by English literature. While his debut attempt, “Coriolanus,” was based on Shakespeare’s work, his next, “The Invisible Woman,” fell back on Claire Tomalin’s book on Ellen Ternan, the actress whose secret affair with a much older Charles Dickens provided fodder for gossip in 19th century Britain. “The White Crow” takes us far away to the 1960s Soviet Union, engulfed in dirty Cold War politics.

The movie tells us the dramatic story of the famous ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to France in 1961. It takes an unflinching look at the rigid Soviet political system and how it strangulated personal freedom and artistic expression — factors that have not entirely disappeared from today’s world. The film explores Nureyev’s birth on a train in Siberia and his fascination with ballet that his family could ill-afford. His steely resolve — which often gets derailed because of his temper tantrums — helps him master the dance form, although he goes into it late in life.

Played by the renowned Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivanko, Nureyev, aided by one of the finest teachers of the time, Fiennes’ Pushkin, springs to life with each step, with each move in a narrative that uses flashbacks, though rather clumsily. Nureyev dances with many leading companies before dying from AIDS in 1993. One of the most memorable moments in the movie is a dramatic scene at a Parisian airport in which Nureyev’s Soviet handlers try to stop him from traveling to London. In those vital minutes, his friend Clara Saint (Adele Exarchopoulos) attempts to help him.

Sadly, Exarchopoulos, who with her headscarf resembles Jackie Onassis, appears painfully wooden, something that is not helped by a script that seems to bounce all over the place.

Ralph Fiennes. (AFP)

 


Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

Updated 13 November 2018
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Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

  • Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the Michael Kors campaign
  • The special-edition Whitney bag will be unveiled on Nov. 14

DUBAI: Fashion powerhouse Michael Kors (MK) has enlisted the region’s style icons to unveil an exclusive Middle East design of a limited-edition shoulder bag.

Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the elite portrait series showcasing a special-edition of the Whitney bag, set to be unveiled at an exclusive event in Dubai on Nov. 14.

The beauty queen took to Instagram to announce the stint, where she posted a picture of herself along with other Arab fashion icons strutting the newly redesigned Whitney bag, including Dubai-based influencer Leena Al Ghouti, fashion blogger Ola Faharat, and filmmaker Lana Al Beik..

“So honored to be fronting this @michaelkors campaign for their new Whitney bag. My MK family is here in Dubai all the way from New York for the celebration this week and I couldn’t think of more powerful ladies to share this photograph with,” Kahawaty wrote.

Dubbed as the Whitney, the compact bag is one of the newest additions to the fashion label’s exclusive accessory collection. The bag is crafted in panel-quilted lambskin, accompanied by a sleek chain strap.

“We were able to incorporate a very subtle M-shaped outline, something I’ve been sketching since I was in middle school,” American designer Michael Kors himself said.

The Middle East edition will be released in a rich blue, which Kors described as “the perfect blend of sophistication and luxury for our customers” in the region.

Kors has expressed how the Middle East is an important region for his fashion label, saying “our customers in the Middle East truly love fashion and glamour, which makes it a fun and exciting place to be as a designer.”

MK, widely known for its premium leather handbags, recently bought luxury designer Versace for $2.05 billion, bolstering its position against its larger European rivals.

“With the acquisition of Versace we have created one of the world’s leading fashion and luxury groups,” said John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors Holdings.

This came a year after it also acquired British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion.