Yuli uniquely blends a fictionalised account of Acosta’s life primarily based on his memoir No Manner Dwelling with archive footage of the information and him dancing, and unique choreographies representing chapters of his previous.
Acosta, who retired from Britain’s Royal Ballet in 2015, options in a meta-role as himself directing his firm Acosta Danza to carry out in a Havana theatre.
The film, scripted by Briton Paul Laverty and directed by Spaniard Iciar Bollain, obtained 5 nominations for the Spanish Goya awards on Wednesday.
Political at instances, Yuli displays the common struggling of Cuban households divided by exile and struggling to get by when the nation went by means of a deep financial disaster following the autumn of former ally the Soviet Union.
The film, which had its worldwide premiere on the San Sebastian movie pageant in September, evokes how onerous it may very well be for artists like Acosta to get Cuban authorities permission to work overseas, usually key to them having the ability to forge a profession.
However Yuli additionally celebrates the Cuban training system that supplied free ballet coaching to the descendent of slaves from a rundown neighborhood and incorporates a choreography that blasts US imperialism.
The movie’s emotional core is Acosta’s complicated relationship along with his late father who – unusually given his macho, humble milieu – despatched him to ballet faculty to maintain him out of bother.
Acosta’s father, who nicknamed his wayward son “Yuli” for a warrior god, then intuited he may very well be an ideal dancer and pushed him to “comply with his star”. However as a toddler, Acosta needed to be a footballer and never, as he remonstrates within the movie, a “faggot” in tights.
The movie additionally evokes racism in Cuba and overseas. Acosta’s fair-skinned mom’s household rejects him due to his darkish pores and skin, which additionally heightens his self-doubt when he seeks to interrupt into the white world of worldwide ballet.
Acosta stated he hoped his story of success would encourage hope in an oftentimes darkish world.
His autobiography No Manner Dwelling was revealed in 2007 however continues to be not out there in Cuba; critics say that’s as a result of it contains passages deemed unflattering to the matriarch of Cuban ballet, Alicia Alonso.
Acosta stated he hoped the film would immediate authorities to distribute copies of the ebook that stay in storage.
He joined in a refrain of criticism of a decree that took impact final Friday in Cuba, which many artists concern will end in censorship.
Decree 349, which was revealed in July and theoretically got here into drive every week in the past, offers authorities inspectors the proper to close down reveals and performances deemed to violate Cuba’s revolutionary values and to confiscate artists’ belongings.
“Artists ought to be consulted to give you issues like that,” Acosta stated. “We ought to be cautious as a result of everyone knows with out artwork [there] is not any nation.”