In 1916, acclaimed Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky had a mental breakdown, which he recorded in a series of four notebooks over a seven-week period. Director Paul Cox uses excerpts from these journals as a basis for The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (also known as just Nijinsky), a film that explores the dancer's descent into madness using images seen from Nijinsky's viewpoint. The film deals, in part, with the beauty and tragedy of decay. It is quite terrible.
Viewers suffer through a 92-minute montage of clichéd images -- fields of wheat, diaphanous skirts, birds in flight -- as narrator Derek Jacobi reads from Nijinsky's diaries. As one might imagine, insane ramblings make for poor monologue. Evidence such insight as: "I am feeling in the flesh, and not intellect in the flesh... Beauty cannot be discussed; beauty cannot be criticized. I love beauty because I feel it." After an hour or so, you'll want to scratch at your own skin for diversion.
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