At the very least, Nijinsky is the best gay weepie since Death in Venice. It chronicles the last fraught year or so in the dancer's romance with Ballets Russes impresario Diaghilev, and is thus the first major studio film to centre on a male homosexual relationship (albeit a doomed one) without being moralistic. Director Ross and writer Hugh Wheeler betray their subject by presenting Nijinsky's choreographic experiments as deranged, and by associating his madness with Stravinsky's discords; they also give short shrift to the one woman involved, Romola de Pulsky, the go-getting heiress who seduced and married Nijinsky, thereby alienating Diaghilev from his protégé forever. But they do right by their male characters (Alan Bates, in particular, is a plausibly adult Diaghilev), their grasp of the historical reconstructions seems more than competent, and their dialogue and exposition are unusually adroit. Best of all, they never show ballet for its own sake, and have the courage to keep emotional dynamics in the forefront throughout.
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