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In the Nineteenth Century, at the seaside resort of Yalta, the upper class Dimitri Gurov from Moscow meets Anna Sergeyovna walking with her little dog. Both have unhappy marriages: Dimitri has a marriage of convenience arranged by the family when he was a college boy and Anna married a lackey for love that has gone, and they have a love affair. When Anna returns to Saratov and Dimitri to Moscow, he has a boring life at home, spending his time working and going to the club after hours alone to drink and play cards with his friends. On Christmas, Dimitri misses Anna and lies to his wife, telling that he has a business trip to Saint Petersburg. However, he heads to Saratov and he meets Anna in the Opera House with her husband. Their love kindles and Anna promises to meet him in Moscow. In a period when divorce would be unthinkable, Anna and Dimitri are doomed to meet each other in hotel rooms. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"Dama s sobachkoy" or "The Lady With the Dog" is an adaptation of the famous (and rather good) Anton Chekhov short story of the same name. Director Iosif Kheifits approaches the film sensibly by adapting not only the story but also many of the sensibilities and characteristics present in Chekhov's writing.
First of all, the pacing: In keeping with Chekhov's short story the pacing is natural in the way one would relate a truly affecting story from their life- slowly but also in a sense relentlessly and without break. Also typical of Chekhov and thankfully not changed in this film version is the lack of a moral 'message' as well as the subtle characterization that depends on highlighting character traits rather than blatantly telling you what sort of character to expect.
As a film "Dama s sobachkoy" is definitely impressive with the striking black and white photography by Dmitri Meskhiyev and Andrei Moskvin perfectly accentuating the various moods of the film. There's also a memorable score by Nadezhda Simonyan to add to the film with the main theme being particularly effective.
I'm not sure if I see any real flaws in "Dama s sobachkoy" but somehow it doesn't come off as a classic. What it does succeed in is becoming an excellent adaptation of a memorable short story that is pulled off unusually but very well regardless.
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