Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story

Yuli
  • 2018
  • Spain / Cuba / UK
  • 1h 55min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Icíar Bollaín
  • Cast: Carlos Acosta, Santiago Alfonso, Keyvin Martínez

Carlos (Olbera as a boy, Martinez as a young man) is growing up the outskirts of Havana and just wants to play football, but his father Pedro (Alfonso) is determined for his son to be a ballet dancer. The true rags-to-riches story of Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta mixes dramatic narrative with modern-day rehearsal footage, to make for a poignant and riveting story.

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Yuli (2018) Director - Iciar Bollain

Yuli is the nickname given to Carlos Acosta by his father, Pedro, who considers him the son of Ogun, an African god and a fighter. As a child Yuli avoids discipline and education, learning from the streets of an impoverished and abandoned Havana. His father, however, has other ideas, and knowing that his son has a natural talent for dance, sends him to the National Ballet School of Cuba. Despite his repeated escapes and initial poor behavior, the boy is inevitably drawn to the world of dance, and begins to shape his legendary career from a young age, becoming the first black dancer to be cast in some of the most prestigious ballet roles, originally written for white dancers, in companies such as the Houston Ballet or the Royal Ballet in London.

This is a beautiful piece of work and takes us into the graceful world and mind of a man working through his demons with dance.

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Reviews & features

Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story

11 Mar 20195 stars

Beautifully shot, poignant and fascinating biopic about one of the greatest dancers the world has ever known

'He was born to dance – he just doesn't know it yet.' So says Pedro Acosta, father of 10-year-old Carlos, as he tries to shoehorn his young son into ballet school. Carlos, however, would far rather play football, 'than be a faggot'. For those who have…

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