Last week I got out yet another of the Big Box O' DVDs and this time it was 1985's White Nights. I remember when the movie came out because I was an avid radio listener.
Funny to think of how common it was for movies to include hit pop tunes in their soundtrack. Say You, Say Me and Separate Lives both got heavy airplay, though I wasn't sure how they related to the movie.
Anyhow, White Nights is an incredible film, one that has aged very well. The physicality of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines is amazing.
That's something we've lost. Time was, the expectation of a movie with dancing in it was that it would be not just professional but exemplary. It didn't matter who was dancing, the key was that it was original and authentic.
All that's gone away. The current age uses special effects and camera tricks for all of his physicality and this is one reason why today's movies feel so hollow. They look gorgeous, but they have no soul, no animating spirit.
When you watch one of the dance sequences in White Nights, you're seeing a level of dedication that simply isn't valued any more.
Dancing aside, the storyline is also timely, a necessary reminder of a time when half of the world was locked down under the Communist heel. The Soviet Union offered free health care and guaranteed income, but only in exchange for absolute obedience. It was not surprising that so many free spirits like Baryshnikov were compelled to flee.
There are few movies that I watch once and immediately want to rewatch. This is one of them, and I'm looking forward to gaining a deeper appreciation for it.