Slough Cooperative Film Society Slough Cooperative Film Society


4th February 2020 DATCHET VILLAGE HALL


Spain/Cuba/UK 2018 109 mins Cert. 15

Carlos Acosta (present day) Carlos Acosta Director Icίer Bollaίn
Pedro Santiago Alfonso Screenplay Paul Laverty
Carlos Acosta (young) Keyvin Martinez Cinematographer Alex Catalan
Carlos Acosta (boy 1988) Edison Manuel Editor Nacho Ruiz Capillas

Maestra Chery

Olbera Nunez

Laura de la Cruz


Alberto Iglesias

Yuli poster

Superstar Cuban ballet dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta takes us through his life in unusual style in this mix of drama and dance, fiction and reality. A little like Pina, Wim Wenders’ brilliant film about the late German dancer Pina Bausch, Yuli swings between the art and the person. But here we have the added interest of the artist still very much alive and trying to make sense of his past.

For most of this film, by Spanish director Icίar Bollaίn ( The Olive Tree) and British writer Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake, Sorry We Missed You, The Olive Tree), we see vivid recreations of Acosta’s life: growing up poor in Cuba; facing down racism; travelling to London to become a principal dancer at the English National Ballet; the deteriorating health of his schizophrenic sister back home; the push and pull of family and career. Occasionally, we drift out of the memories to see Acosta now, dancing or directing other dancers to perform moments in his life. He sometimes even steps in to play his own father, a determined, loving and sometimes brutal presence.

'Yuli' – the nickname given to him by his dad – is part biopic, part dance as autobiography. It really works, making the dance accessible for those not so familiar with the discipline, and yet also rooting Acosta’s mission to understand his life firmly in his chosen art form.

Dave Calhoun at