Literary adaptations of the glasnost period and early post-Soviet years reflected the new freedoms allowed in art and culture, with Roman Balayan's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk fully expressing the latent eroticism of Nikolay Leskov's novella, and Yuri Grymov's Mu-Mu reimagines Turgenev's story as a tale of a sado-masochistic relationship between a serf and his landowning mistress.
Other adaptations to exploit the newfound permissiveness and display on screen sex and violence, were Horses Carry Me , an adaptation of Chekhov's The Duel, Alexander Proshkin's Russian Rebellion , an adaptation of Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter, and Valery Todorovsky's adaptation of the same Leskov story, this time entitled Katya Izmailova Todorovsky's film, however, deserves some discussion because it updates the setting to post-Soviet Russia, incorporates elements from other literary works in particular, Crime and Punishment as well as aspects from Western film noir.
Todorovsky's film is notable in its embrace of the new cultural freedoms available since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but also in its affirmation that the nineteenth-century literary canon can have relevance for the modern world. In particular, Todorovsky uses Leskov's text and themes to subject the venality and spiritual corruption of the 'new Russians' to satire and scorn. Another bold and innovative approach to the classical heritage was demonstrated by Sergey Bodrov in his film A Prisoner of the Caucasus The literary antecedent is Lev Tolstoy's short story of that name, though it also bears the same name of poems by Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov Both poems focus on the relationship between a Russian officer and a local girl, whereas Tolstoy's story explores the difference in cultures between the 'European' Russian army officers Zhilin and Kostylin, and the 'primitive' mountain tribesmen of the Caucasus.
Bodrov takes Tolstoy's subject and characters, but sets his story in the modern period, most specifically the Chechen War of the mids. Bodrov's adaptation is a bold and innovative one, showing the Russian military as a brutal occupying force with little respect for local people or customs; moreover, the Chechens are more humane and 'civilized' at the end of the film.
Bodrov's was one of several films of the postSoviet period that explored Russia's relations with its non-Christian neighbours for instance, Ivan Khotinien-ko's The Muslim, , and Andrei Konchalovsky's House of Fools, , and showed that the Tolstoyan text can be adapted and remoulded to articulate contemporary anxieties.
The twenty-first century shows no let-up in filmmakers' desire to make the literary canon relevant to a modern audience. Recent adaptations include Kira Mura-tova's Chekhovian Motifs , which draws together two narratives from various Chekhov texts rather like Mikhalkov did in Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Pi-. Alexander Proshkin's Live and Remember candidly and quite graphically expresses the dilemma of an army deserter returning to his Siberian home, based on a novella by Valentin Rasputin, exploiting freedoms that were not available to directors when Rasputin wrote what many critics still regard as his finest work.
Karen Shakhnaza-rov's Ward No. Vladimir Bortko's Taras Bulba gave Nikolai Gogol's novel the full Hollywood 'epic' treatment, thus showing a domestic audience that Russian cinema can equal its American rival in the blockbuster department . These TV adaptations in particular show reflect the confidence in the Russian cultural media of being able to bring large projects to the screen, and attract a modern audience by making the classics relevant to modern life, and reminding that audience of the greatness of its literary culture.
One of the first Soviet full-length feature films was an adaptation of a work of science fiction. Yakov Protazanov filmed Alexey Tolstoy's novel Aelita in , focusing on an imaginary journey to Mars, and provided the Soviet viewer with an astonishing array of visuals in the sets and costumes designed by the Constructivist artist Alexandra Ekster, thus celebrating the possibilities of what was still a relatively new art form, and which became 'the most famous Russian film of that period' [ A film that was also very much of its time was The Amphibious Man, directed in by Gennady Kazansky and Vladimir Chebotarev and based on a novel by Alexander Belyaev.
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Filmed in colour and with exotic and sensuous visuals, and starring the stunningly beautiful teenager Anastasiya Vertinskaya, the film provided the Soviet viewing public that had largely never travelled abroad with glimpses of exotic lands, replete with sunshine, rugged coastlines and impressive seascapes. In its portrayal of a scientist trying to improve the lot of mankind by developing underwater breathing apparatus, moreover, it also hinted at individual inner freedom and personal choice at a time when Stalin's legacy was still being publicly debated [Ibid.
Another of Belyaev's novels, The Head of Professor Dowell, written in , was adapted in by the director Leonid Menaker as The Testament of Professor Dowell , and fully chimes with the anti-imperialist rhetoric of the Cold War at its height. The most popular and enduring Russian writers of science fiction whose works have been adapted for the screen are the Strugatsky Brothers Arkady and Boris.
Russia's greatest auteur Andrey Tarkovsky adapted their novel Roadside Picnic as Stalker in , with a screenplay written by them. The film, however, most certainly 'belongs' to Tarkovsky and not the Strugatsky Brothers, as the adaptation features only the bare bones of the original plot and. Tarkovsky's film was an important statement at a time when Soviet society was at the officially-trumpeted stage of 'advanced socialism', and a bold assertion in an atheistic society that man's materialist progress is doomed if it is not accompanied by his spiritual and moral development also the central theme of Tarkovsky's earlier foray into science fiction, his adaptation of the Polish author Stanislav Lem's novel Solaris, released in In all his films Tar-kovsky consistently challenged the ethos of his times, and would assert the primacy of the individual artistic consciousness over totalitarian priorities, but Stalker was to be the last film Tarkovsky directed in his homeland.
It can be argued that thematically the most significant literary adaptations in the post-Soviet period have been of works by the Strugatsky Brothers. Roadside Picnic may have provided Andrey Tarkovsky with an intellectual broadside against the prevailing relativist ethos of his times, but their novel Prisoners of Power became a cinematic blockbuster intended to put Russian cinema back on the filmgoer's map. With its themes of totalitarianism, political repression and rebellion, however, the film can be seen as a subversive call to arms.
Or maybe Charles Dickens book Hard Times. An affair between an unhappily married Moscow banker and a young married woman, which begins while both are vacationing at the sea resort in Yalta. The film combines elements of science fiction with dramatic philosophical and psychological themes. The film depicts an expedition led by a figure known as the " Stalker " AleksandrKaidanovsky to take his two clients—a melancholic writer AnatoliSolonitsyn seeking inspiration, and a professor NikolaiGrinko seeking scientific discovery—to a mysterious restricted site known simply as the "Zone," where there is a room which supposedly has the ability to fulfill a person's innermost desires.
The trio travel through unnerving areas filled with the debris of modern society while engaging in many arguments. The "Zone" itself appears sentient, while their path through it can be sensed but not seen. In the film, a "stalker" is a professional guide to the Zone, someone having the ability and desire to cross the border into the dangerous and forbidden place with a specific goal. The Chernobyl disaster, which occurred seven years after the film was made, led to depopulation in the surrounding area—officially called the "Zone of alienation"—much like the "Zone" of the film.
Some of the people employed to take care of the abandoned nuclear power plant refer to themselves as stalkers. Listener profile: Yelena is another one of our loyal listeners. This man has supernatural elements that shroud his memory in the history books. The villain in this play is scandalous! I found this one to be shocking in its depiction of religion. I was shocked with all my bigoted opinions about organized religion. Shock was followed by a quick recollection of back then, how much more important the church was in every day life.
They expand on this age old Faust legend. How far is someone willing to go to achieve their goals? What of themselves are they willing to give up? If this self sacrifice can be justified, what are the risks involved? Part - 1. Only to live, to live, to live! To live, no matter how - only to live!
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How true! Lord, how true! Man is a scoundrel! And he's a scoundrel who calls him a scoundrel for that. To breathe. To be.
Nikolai Gogol though bless the translator Constance Garnett for "sturdy doggy nature," because that absolutely added to my reading experience. I had a hard time trying to explain to a lot of people why I found this book so funny, ao I hope the quote gets some of the feeling across.
I actually finished this a little while ago - and tried to read what remains of the intended sequel, but i just found that too ham-fisted. It's a wonderful extended satire of the Russian people, filled with excellent little character sketches. I know a lot of us read Important Books because they're Important Books, but I also really enjoyed this one.
It's just a bit hard to explain why you're giggling at an Important Russian Classic. Faust, The dialogue is in German. All Rights Reserved. Insta Saver Share and Download Instagram image.
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