Ralph Fiennes in The White Crow
Ralph Fiennes in The White Crow

British actor and director Ralph Fiennes will receive the CineMerit Award at the 2019 Munich International Film festival (Filmfest München). The festival will also screen the German premiere of his new film The White Crow, which Fiennes has both directed and starred in, playing the part of renowned Leningrad ballet master Alexander Pushkin.

One intense look from him, and he has everyone’s attention. The dance instructor stands in an empty room with calm stoicism and a gentle but determined look. At the ballet barre, his pupils are waiting for his signal. A slight gesture, a terse “Get ready” — and the tone is set. Just as gentle and determined is director Fiennes’ signature touch. In “The White Crow”, his third film as director, he takes a calm and studious approach to the incredible story of legendary Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who astonished the world with his defection to France in 1961. Nureyev is played by world-class Ukrainian ballet dancer Oleg Ivenko.

“The White Crow” opens in theaters across Germany starting September 26, 2019, distributed by Alamode Film.

“I’m extraordinarily delighted that in Munich we are able to honor Ralph Fiennes, who has just received a European Film Award, and present his latest work as a director. Hardly anyone has contributed to the art of film as uncompromisingly as he has,” comments Diana Iljine, festival director of Filmfest München. “I consider Ralph Fiennes to be one of the most versatile and iconic actors of our time.”

Filmfest München will also be showing the two other films Fiennes has directed — “Coriolanus” (2011) and “The Invisible Woman” (2013), as well as additional films that highlight his acting career.

Prior to his success in film, Ralph Fiennes was long renowned on the English stage. At the young age of 27, he performed notable parts in Shakespeare plays at London’s National Theatre and with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Even though his career soon led to film, he returned time and again to the theater, playing Hamlet, King Lear, Julius Caesar, and the island sorcerer Prospero. In “Coriolanus”, his first film as director, Fiennes finally brought his appreciation of Shakespeare’s works to the big screen. In the film, he plays the haughty, vindictive general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, who has drawn the resentment of the Roman people upon himself. In his second film as director, “The Invisible Woman”, Fiennes performed in one of the leading roles, that of legendary British author Charles Dickens, who starts a complicated love affair with a young actress named Nelly. Once again, the director made use of a literary template, Claire Tomalin’s novel of the same title. In his relationship with Nelly, Dickens appears domineering and assertive, but actor Ralph Fiennes succeeds nonetheless in revealing his uncertainty and vulnerability when growing older.

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