Margot Fonteyn - A Portrait DVD|
Just two years before she died in 1991, Margot Fonteyn finally allowed a documentary to be made about her life and legendary career as the most romantic prima ballerina of all. Fortunately, the task fell to Patricia Foy. Together with her later appreciation of Rudolf Nureyev, this study offers an invaluable insight into the two dominant and most widely popular dancers of the 20th century. Fonteyn talks directly to camera, with disarming simplicity, about a professional career which endured for more than 40 remarkable years. Reminiscences of a childhood and youth in which she entertained ideas of being a tap dancer (it took Ninette de Valois to spot her unique talent) give way to archive footage of famous performances and interviews with key collaborators including Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann. Fascinating home movies give a brief glimpse of a hard-working but jet-set lifestyle which included sailing on Onassis' yacht with Maria Callas. But Fonteyn was that rarest of beings: a genuine celebrity who didn't appreciate her own authentic claim to greatness for many years. The understated way in which she discusses her marriage to Panamanian diplomat Roberto de Arias, her arrest and deportation during his unsuccessful attempt at a coup and later, the paralysing effect of a gunshot wound which would leave him a permanent invalid in her constant care, is deeply moving. Ultimately though, there is the dancing, and that partnership with Nureyev. Fonteyn was 42 when they first joined forces and she was anxious not to appear as "mutton dancing with lamb". How ironic. The erotic charge which they generated is still palpable in extended excerpts from Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. Essential viewing for balletomanes of every age. On the DVD: Apart from a trailer for other Arthaus releases, there are no special features. The mono sound does the musical extracts no favours, but it's the interviews that make this an archivist's treat. Well-produced, with the customary detailed booklet. --Piers Fordfrom£7.59 | RRP:
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