Not very often the subject of a biopic appear in their own cinematic story. In Yuli: the Carlos Acosta Story, the man and dancer himself plays centre stage. This film has been constructed in a most extraordinary way, and the performances are impeccable.
Based on Acosta’s 2007 auto-biograhy ‘No Way Home’, the film intertwines three stages of the dancer’s life – from his early beginnings going to dance school, to his break into international stardom, to finally centring around the dancer’s own production of his life’s story.
What is most remarkable is that Acosta’s interest in dance came via pressure from his father, Pedro. His father saw in him his immense natural talent as a dancer and forced him to attend Cuba’s National Dance School – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which Acosta tried to escape many times. Despite this, Carlos’ (nicknamed Yuli by his father) appreciation of the art form turns to passion, and drives him to become one of the best dancers of his generation. Breaking taboos, Yuli became the first black artist to dance Romeo in the Royal Ballet in London, where he forged a legendary career as a principal dancer for 17 years. The film portrays however, that he would have given it all up to be with his family back in Cuba.
Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story is a multilayered story that hits every thematic note – the complicated relationship between father and son, connection to family, maleness, sacrifice, black identity, exile and the transforming power of art. Some of the most powerful and heartbreaking scenes are those with no dialogue, but contemporary dance sequences that depict key moments in Carlos’ life. The history and culture of Carlos’ homeland of Cuba, provides a rich backdrop to the film.
Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story screened at the Sydney Film Festival 2019 and the San Sebastian International Film Festival 2018, where it won Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Film. The film also earned 5 nominations at the Goya Awards, Spain’s national film awards.
The film opens nationally on Thursday 31 October 2019.
SYDNEY: Cremorne Orpheum, Palace Norton St, Riverside Parramatta
MELBOURNE: Cinema Nova, Palace Balwyn, Palace Como
BRISBANE: Dendy Coorparoo, Dendy Portside
CANBERRA: Dendy Canberra
ADELAIDE: Palace Nova Eastend
PERTH: Luna Leederville
HOBART: The State Cinema
BYRON BAY: Palace Byron Bay
About Yuli: the Carlos Acosta Story
Directed by Iciar Bollain
Written by Paul Laverty, based on Acosta’s autobiograhy, ‘No Way Home’
Stars: Carlos Acosta, Edilson Manuel Olbera, Keyvin Martinez, Santiago Alfonso, Yailene Sierra