“Maiko: Dancing Child” will have its world premiere in the documentary competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Sunday, June 14, at 3:55 p.m. and Tuesday, June 16, at 3:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas-LA LIVE, 100 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles.
This visually stunning film follows the life of dancer Maiko Nishino. Her destiny was decided before she was born. Her name means “dancing child.” Her mother, the driving force behind her career, sold their home to send Nishino, then 14, to the most prestigious dancing schools in Europe. She knew she couldn’t return to Japan as a failure.
Now 32, she has reached a pinnacle in her career as the celebrated prima ballerina of the Norwegian National Ballet. Now, she comes face to face with her desire to have a child – and star in “Swan Lake.”
In their debut documentary, filmmakers Åse Svenheim-Drivenes and Anita Rehoff Larsen explore the roles of mother and daughter with the traditional image of a ballerina. Early home videos of Nishino’s family in Japan are woven together with present-day interactions between Nishino and her mother, emphasizing the sacrifices the family made to make her dreams of ballet a reality.
Elegant performance footage is balanced with moments of strenuous training, but Nishino’s grace can barely conceal the strain of continuing to persevere as the National Ballet’s top dancer – especially as her body changes.
The Movie Shark has included “Maiko” in its top 20 “must see” films at this year’s LAFF.
“Maiko” will be screened with “Hearts and Arrows,” directed by Benjamin Millepied. Set in six movements and scored by Phillip Glass’ “String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima),” Millepied’s latest ballet represents the second part of a triptych entitled “Gems” featuring the L.A. Dance Project.