In ‘Polina,’ co-directors Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj, a world-renowned choreographer, explore a young dancer’s quest for her creative heart

As Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj searched a few years ago for a project on which the French couple could collaborate they came across “Polina,” a graphic novel about a young dancer in search of her artistic soul, and in it found a film almost perfectly suited for the married filmmaker and choreographer.

“I had already done some documentary films about dance and I was looking to make a film that would be a fictional film but would also be set in the world of dance,” Müller said by phone from home in France a few weeks before their adaptation of “Polina” debuted in Southern California this month.

“And so we found the novel,” she continued, speaking through a translator. “There are even some references to Angelin’s choreography in the novel itself, so there was a connection there.”

Both she and Preljocaj, the founder of the world-renowned Preljocaj Ballet in Aix-en-Provence, France, were familiar with the work of comic book artist-writer Bastien Vivès, and admired the way in which his words and image fleshed out each character. And in Polina, he’d created a protagonist with particular appeal, Müller says.

In the film, Polina is a young Russian girl who grows up in a…

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