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62 Ratings


Polina, danser sa vie

France, 2016


Growing up in Russia, Polina studies classical ballet with one goal: to make it to the Bolshoi. However, when her dream finally comes true, she discovers not only love but a new form of dance—more contemporary and expressive—that takes her to France, and will change her life forever.

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Polina Directed by Angelin Preljocaj, Valérie Müller
Based on a graphic novel, the film is a fine example of visual storytelling: codirectors Valérie Müller and the French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj frequently opt for long, evocative dance sequences over dialogue to illustrate the protagonist’s circuitous journey.
September 07, 2017
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The fluid visual rhythms are hampered by a clunky screenplay […that] strands poor Binoche in portentous credos when she really means to galvanize Polina to quit being such a diva and get a life in the spit and grit of the city. It’s there that Polina springs to vivid life as a winsome hip-hop ballet. A classically trained choreographer who transitioned to contemporary dance, Preljocaj has an exuberant grasp of the form’s democratizing power to plunder everyday gesture and make it heroic.
August 24, 2017
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At the core of most films about dance, from The Red Shoes to Billy Elliot, is the conflict between the harsh outside world and the thrill of performance, where the ecstasy of dance is only matched by the frustration of the barriers to getting on stage. Polina abides by this tradition but so myopically tries to reduce the personhood of the young woman at the film’s center to her dance career that even its sensitive and gorgeous choreographies can’t fully offer respite from the hollow narrative.
August 24, 2017
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