4 user 14 critic

The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (2001)

Dramatization of Russian ballet star Vaclav Nijinsky's diaries which detail his madness as well as his homosexual relationship with Ballet Russe impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his marriage to his Hungarian wife.


Paul Cox


Vaslav Nijinsky (diaries), Paul Cox
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Nijinsky (1980)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set in the early 1910s at a time of passionate artistic experimentalism, and based on biographical fact, this is the story of Vaslav Nijinsky, the young and brilliant, but headstrong ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Alan Bates, George De La Pena, Leslie Browne
Certificate: 6 Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The true story of the 19th century priest who volunteered to go to the island of Molokai, to console and care for the lepers.

Director: Paul Cox
Stars: Keanu Kapuni-Szasz, David Wenham, Jan Kleinejan
Caravaggio (1986)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A retelling of the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld.

Director: Derek Jarman
Stars: Noam Almaz, Dexter Fletcher, Nigel Terry
Innocence (2000)
Certificate: AL Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After more than forty years apart, Andreas and Claire embark on an affair as reckless and intense as when they were young lovers. Widowed musician Andreas decides to get back in touch with ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Cox
Stars: Julia Blake, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Kristine Van Pellicom


Credited cast:
Derek Jacobi ... Nijinsky (voice) (as Sir Derek Jacobi)
Delia Silvan ... Romola
Chris Haywood ... Oscar
Hans Sonneveld Hans Sonneveld ... Doctor
Oliver Streeton Oliver Streeton ... Psychiatrist
Jillian Smith Jillian Smith ... Emilia
Kevin Lucas Kevin Lucas ... Diaghilev
David Gallasch David Gallasch ... Critic
Aanya Whitehead Aanya Whitehead ... Maid
Gabriella Joy Smart Gabriella Joy Smart ... Piano Player
Lisa Heaven Lisa Heaven ... Prostitute
Patricia Cellier Patricia Cellier ... Prostitute
Kyra Cox Kyra Cox ... Little Kyra
Anandine Merino Anandine Merino ... Little Kyra
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vicki Attard Vicki Attard ... Le Spectre de la Rose - Dancer


Dramatization of Russian ballet star Vaclav Nijinsky's diaries which detail his madness as well as his homosexual relationship with Ballet Russe impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his marriage to his Hungarian wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Life is the Ultimate Performance See more »


See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Art Films | Hanway Films



Release Date:

25 April 2002 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky See more »

Filming Locations:

Spain See more »


Box Office


AUD 1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,393, 2 June 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$55,068, 27 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In December 1917, Vaslav Nijinsky with his wife Romola and three year old daughter Kyra, retreated to a villa in St Moritz in Switzerland to await the end of World War I. His relationship with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes had been severed and with war raging throughout Europe, it was impossible for Nijinsky to find other engagements. By the armistice in November 1918, Nijinsky, the most celebrated male dancer of the western world, had suffered a severe mental breakdown. In notebooks, he recorded his intense inner turmoil. This film covers these diaries as its subject and reference point. See more »


Referenced in Paul Cox directs the Diary of Nijinsky (2014) See more »


Casta diva
from "Norma"
Music by Vincenzo Bellini
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Flattering treatment of naive diaries of dance legend Nijinsky
12 September 2002 | by dallemangSee all my reviews

A lovingly shot, very flattering treatment of the diaries of dance legend Vaslaw Nijinsky. Derek Jacobi reads aloud from the dancer's diaries, written just before he was committed to an institution for the mentally ill. The diaries themselves are by modern standards sickeningly insipid and naive; Nijinsky rejects any form of thinking or analysis in favor of love and feeling, and repeats over and over how he just wants to love everyone, so how can there be war, or any other bad things? This film could have been such a trite love-fest celebration.

Instead, Cox has managed to juxtapose the text over a series of images and music, often taken from Nijinsky's choreographies, into a tapestry that brings real meaning from what could be called the written ravings of a madman. Recurring characters based on roles Nijinsky made famous illustrate the feelings and episodes expressed in the diaries. The result is an expression of the meaning behind the madness that I found thought-provoking (even if Nijinsky would not approve of all that thinking!).

The camera work makes an intriguing parallel to the diary itself; the execution of the diary is naive in a way reminiscent of folk art, but the ideas in it are deeply sensual. Cox is certainly as capable of slick camera work as any good director, but for the dance scenes in the woods (especially those from "Afternoon of a Faun"), he chose a style of camera work that looks just a little bit clumsy and amateurish, while filming a choreography so sensual that it caused quite a scandal when Nijinsky danced it for the first time in 1912. The juxtaposition of naive execution with sensual content echoes and accentuates the feeling of the diaries themselves.

All in all a beautiful film; a great find.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed

[PDF] 12 Rules for Life - An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson {EB00K} | Watch now! | Goli Soda 2 (2018) 675MB 720P HDRip Dual Audio [Hindi-Telugu] Uncut – HEVC