"Joy Womack: The White Swan" review: when success is a stretch

Sometimes in “Joy Womack: The White Swan”, determination begins to sound like monomania, even if the directors, Dina Burlis and Sergey ...


Sometimes in “Joy Womack: The White Swan”, determination begins to sound like monomania, even if the directors, Dina Burlis and Sergey Gavrilov, never get their hands on their position. Their documentary follows Joy Womack, an American ballet dancer who moved to Moscow on her own at age 15 with the ambition of joining the Bolshoi Ballet. After achieving this goal, she left the company and makes international headlines in 2013 saying she was told she would have to pay a bribe for a solo role. (She then joined the Kremlin Ballet.)

Taken from seven years of filming, the documentary traces Womack’s life in Russia, where she says success is more elusive than in the United States. In the United States, she says, “if you’re a hard worker you can do it,” but in Russia, “it’s like you don’t have the aesthetic, forget it, don’t even try. not. “The film observes her efforts to reconcile what a ballet critic in the film calls a Broadway style with the Russian style. Womack also has to dance and heal her injuries. Less than two minutes later, the film shows her performing. have an MRI

To some extent, Womack’s bold career path has been transformed into a conventional profile format. The directors might have done more to shed light on Womack’s behind-the-scenes life (one wonders if she learned to speak russian overnight), although they relate the struggles of a marriage she contracted with apparent sincerity, also knowing that it would help her get permission to stay in Russia. Womack comes across as incredibly adaptable, which may be the film’s final point.

Joy Womack: the white swan
Unclassified. In English and Russian, with subtitles. Duration: 1h30. In theaters and on virtual cinemas. Also available for rental or purchase at google play, Seen and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.

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