Screened as part of NZIFF 2017

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan 2016

Directed by Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger Portrait of an Artist

The prima ballerina prepares to take her final bow after three decades with New York City Ballet and considers life and dance after ‘retirement’ in this intimate and inspiring, clip-studded documentary portrait.

USA In English
90 minutes DCP



Don Lenzer


Bob Eisenhardt


Philip Sheppard


Wendy Whelan


New York 2016

“For balletomanes worldwide, Wendy Whelan’s name conjures vivid images of ethereal beauty, coupled with sinewy, breathtaking athleticism. Beginning ballet class as a three-year old in Louisville, Kentucky, she came to New York City in 1981 and spent the next 30 years as a star of the New York City Ballet. The film follows a particularly difficult period when Whelan undergoes surgery for an injury and must negotiate – both emotionally and professionally – for her place in the dance world. Featuring gorgeous performances from Balanchine and Jerome Robbins classics as well as ballets by Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, Brian Brooks, and Alexei Ratmansky. Whelan’s disarming charm and steely determination will steal your heart.”— Film Forum

“Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger show as much generosity of spirit to their subject, prima ballerina Wendy Whelan, as she has displayed to fellow dancers during a storied 30-year career. Their adoring documentary, Restless Creature, isn’t hagiography, but it does serve as a corrective to the way ballerinas are portrayed in fictional movies as being ferociously competitive.”— Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“The plentiful snippets of Ms Whelan dancing signature roles give a cumulative sense of her gifts... More remarkable, though, is how the film and Ms Whelan, without falsification, turn an extreme form of midlife crisis into a heartening tale. Restless Creature makes the potential compensations of age seem as beautiful as any ballet.”— Brian Seibert, NY Times