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The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (2001)

  Directed by: Paul Cox
Links: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Documentary
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Documentary 2002 (nominee)

This movie gets: 2.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (2001) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Human Touch (2004).

"Inaccessible" - a review by pearly

The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky is based on the diaries of (you guessed it) Vaslav Nijinsky, a Russian dancer. Nijinsky wrote the diaries in his later life; they became his most intimate friend as his schizophrenia overtook his life.

The movie itself consists of a reading of excerpts of the diaries, with imagery of dancers, nature, re-enactments of Nijinsky's home life, etc. There is no narration or story-telling, just the constant voice of the reader, and the (random) images. The diaries themselves are sometimes nonsensical, an example being:

I have said many times that it is bad to eat meat. They don't understand me. They think that meat is an essential thing. They want a lot of meat. After eating lunch, they laugh. I am heavy and stale after eating, because I feel my stomach. They do not feel their stomachs, but feel blood playing up. They get excited after eating. Children also get excited. They are put to bed because people think they are weak creatures.

Um, righto. If you say so, Mr Nijinsky. The words are sometimes insightful, but mostly just ramblings.

What it comes down to is that this is very difficult to watch. Whether this is because the format is so different to "normal" movies, or whether it's just because it's difficult to listen to this type of content for 95 minutes straight doesn't really matter. It's just difficult.

I have never seen so many people get up and leave the cinema during a movie - and I was watching this at a free screening for film institute members. Disappointing, considering Paul Cox has recently directed two wonderful films - Innocence (2000) and Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999). Go see them instead.

pearly gives this movie 2 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 17 Sep 2002

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