SS Film Festival: Swan Song, Ft. Karen Kain of the National Ballet
Approximate running time: 2 hours
100 Jackson Ave.
Saltspring Island BC V8K 2V8
Following a sensational 1971 debut in Swan Lake, Karen Kain was promoted to Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, achieving international fame as one of the great classical dancers of her era.
Named Best Canadian Documentary at the Calgary International Film Festival, SWAN SONG immerses viewers behind the scenes as Kain directs a legacy-defining 2022 production of Swan Lake on the eve of her retirement as Artistic Director, after a two-year pandemic delay.
With an intimate, character-driven approach, filmmaker Chelsea McMullan closely follows Kain and a dedicated group of young ballerinas, interweaving the dramatic creation process with scenes from their personal lives, through challenging setbacks, creative conflicts and devastating injuries.
Contentious racial politics and a pointed push for equity are deftly explored, as some of the strongest emerging ballerinas are young women of colour, challenging ballet’s Eurocentric ideals of beauty, perfection and conformity.