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Ukhod velikogo startsa (1912)

A group of peasants comes to see Leo Tolstoy and his wife, the Countess, to request some land. Tolstoy must explain to them that it is his wife who has authority over their land-holdings, ... See full summary »

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(co-director), (co-director)
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Sofja Andreevna (as O. Petrova)
Vladimir Shaternikov ...
Lev Tolstoy
Mikhail Tamarov ...
Vladimir Chertkov
Elizaveta Thiman ...
Alexandra L'vovna
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Storyline

A group of peasants comes to see Leo Tolstoy and his wife, the Countess, to request some land. Tolstoy must explain to them that it is his wife who has authority over their land-holdings, and she will not help them. Stung by their negative reaction to him, Tolstoy becomes increasingly preoccupied with the problems of the poor. This leads to a number of conflicts with his wife, and then to a deep despondency, as the noted writer continues vainly to search for answers to the sufferings he sees around him. Written by Snow Leopard

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Plot Keywords:

writer | land | peasant | wife | leo tolstoy | See All (5) »

Genres:

Short | Drama

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Release Date:

24 June 2003 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

A nagy öreg futása  »

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How to make Tolstoy boring
29 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

Co-director Yakov Protazanov later adapted Tolstoy's novella "Father Sergius". It's a boring film, unimaginatively made. "Departure of a Grand Old Man" is much worse. It was released in 1912, "Father Sergius" in 1917. Film-making came a long way in that time, and Protazanov learned some of it, such as how to brake up a scene into more than one shot.

It doesn't matter that this film was controversial, that it was banned because of its unflattering depiction of Tolstoy's widow. The attempts at authenticity are likewise of no consequence. It can't amend for a static, stationary camera--a film full of long takes of long shots. Protazanov seems to have believed that the story is the most important component of a film, not the camera. The theatrical acting doesn't help either.

A vista shot of a railway station atop a building is not very interesting, but it's at least a variation. As is the documentary photograph of Tolstoy on his deathbed and the cloudy sky shot with a superimposed Tolstoy welcomed by Christ. Yet, it's not enough to relieve from the dullness. Protazanov would do Pushkin more justice with his 1916 adaptation "The Queen of Spades".


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