One of the defining movie moments of the last 40 years — a sequence at once ridiculous, iconic, and enthralling — is the ballet-school audition climax of “Flashdance
,” in which the aspiring dance superstar played by Jennifer Beals
prances and struts and gyrates and, finally, break-dances to the synth-pop glory of Giorgio Moroder
and Irene Cara
, wowing the world of highbrow snoot and overthrowing it at the same time. “Polina,” co-directed by Valérie Müller
and Angelin Preljocaj
, turns the mythology of that sequence into a European art film — or, more precisely, stretches it out into a teasingly austere, deliberately paced movie about a young Russian ballerina’s progress from elegant classical drone to free-spirited something-or-other.
Polina (Anastasia Shevtsova) has grown up in a joyless land of oppression, nuclear power plants, and occupational dead ends, and it’s her family’s dream that she’ll use her talent as a dancer to ascend. Her father, Anton