Polina, danser sa vie (NR)
In its quiet way Polina is a gender-reversed, fictional version of last year's Dancer, the doc about Ukrainian Sergei Polunin, whose parents similarly sacrifice to help him reach the stratosphere, only to see him quit London's Royal Ballet and nearly abandon his art entirely. Married directors Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj (she a director, he a distinguished French-Albanian choreographer, both transitioning here from docs to narrative film) base Polina on a graphic novel by Bastien Vivès, a young French artist. Actual Russian dancer Anastasia Shevtsova takes the title role, growing from a restless bunhead into a brave young modernist, hopping across international borders to seize opportunities (joining a French ensemble led by Juliette Binoche), surviving adversity, finding love and delivering herself from depression by choreographing her own work.
Images planted early in the film betray the path Polina will take; when we watch her move freely in the woods and commune with a moose, we guess that ballet may not be the last stop on her professional train.