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New York Film Festival Preview, 'Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq'

by Caryn James
September 30, 2013 8:59 AM
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 "The tragedy of Tanny is epic," Jacques d'Amboise says of his one-time ballet partner, referring to the event that makes Nancy Buirski's eloquent documentary Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, a moving human drama rather than simply a film about a great dancer. Tanaquil Le Clercq was the current wife and muse of George Balanchine in 1956 when, while on a European tour, she was stricken with polio. In the worst kind of tragic irony, she never walked again.

Afternoon of a Faun, which premieres tonight at the New York Film Festival, includes great archival footage of Tanny at the height of her career, and follows her story before and after her illness -- Jerome Robbins and Balanchine both adored her -- as she learned to embrace a much different life than she'd imagined.  (The film will also be shown Friday at 1:00 and Sunday at 6:00; stand-by tickets only available for all screenings.)

As you can see in the trailer, d'Amboise's memories are an especially poignant element in a richly-layered film that measures up to its subject's own grace and complexity. 

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