(director: Nick Read/Mark Franchetti; cinematographer: Nick Read; editors: Jay Taylor/David Charap; music: Smiths & Elm; cast: Maria Alexandrova, Sergei Filin, Vladimir Urin, Anastasiya Meskova; Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mark Franchetti/Vera Obolonkina /Vanessa Tovell; HBO; 2015)
“A behind-the-scenes look at Moscow’s renown Bolshoi Theatre.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An art-culture documentary. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at Moscow’s renown Bolshoi Theatre as it’s upset by a headline report of an acid-attack scandal in 2013. Brit director Nick Read and Mark Franchetti (“The Condemned”) are co-directors, as the Bolshoi allows them backstage access and filming privileges for the first time. For me, the film arouses little interest and has little drama, but its images are stunning. It should serve ballet fans better than non-fans.

The story is effectively told through interviews, court footage and backstage glances of rehearsals and performances. It covers the nasty incident in January 2013, where the then artistic director of the Bolshoi, Sergei Filin, had acid thrown on his face by a masked attacker. Within a few months, a soloist in the troupe, Pavel Dmitrichenko, admitted to having arranged the attack — he said he believed that Mr. Filin was professionally against him and his girlfriend — and was sentenced to six years in prison.

REVIEWED ON 12/30/2015 GRADE: C+