Fifteen years ago the British director Bernard Rose
made a deeply disappointing version of Anna Karenina
in Russia. As if to make up for this he's spent much of this century in the States making low-budget movies transposing shorter Tolstoy works to present-day California. The first was ivans xtc, an acrid tale of Hollywood based on The Death of Ivan Ilyich, the second part of The Kreutzer Sonata
that centres on a pathologically jealous Beverly Hills philanthropist suspecting his wife of adultery. The third is Boxing Day
, a version of Master and Man, the story of Vasily, a pompous, penny-pinching smalltown landowner, who sets out right after the December St Nicholas Day
festival to buy some cut-price timber from a neighbouring landowner, taking with him Nikita, a heavy-drinking peasant with a troubled marriage. They get lost in a snowstorm and Vasily discovers how much less significant social hierarchies and money are compared to human relationships.