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A "Romeo and Juliet" story that takes place in the late 16c. Ukraine. Taras has settled into comfortable farm life after years of adventures and swashbuckling with his cossack companions. Though not wealthy, he is able to send his son Andrei away to a Polish school. At this time the Poles are overlords of Ukraine and the origin of the cossacks is struggle of the Ukrainian serfs to free themselves and their land of Polish domination. Toward this end Taras hopes that his son will be educated in the ways of the enemy. Instead, Andrei falls in love with the daughter of a Polish nobleman, setting the stage for a clash between love, family honor, and a struggle for national identity. Written by
So many years have passed when I read Taras Bulba in Russian. This was by the way the first Gogol's novel I read, but I always enjoyed this author. Gogol wrote most of his novels in Russian and some others in Ucranian languages, and this Bulba was not Russian as many people believe, instead he was Ucranian Cosack. The name Taras was popular in Ucraine but not in Russia, and the war between greek-orthodox Ucranian and Belorrussian with catholic Poles was nearly eternal. That's why these countries decided to unite themselves so many centuries ago with also orthodox Russia while Poland always looked for partnership with Lithuania. The main differences were religious, and only when the dangerous Turks attacked them you could find Poles fighting together with Khokhols (Ucranian people). In my opinion this epic film of Taras Bulba is a bit vulgar and not reflecting well the differences between slav people (Poles were slavs too). In the film it seems that Cosacks attacked Poles because they just wanted to do it, and no mention of invasiveness of Poles at that time in the name of Catholic Church. The sudden return of Bulba's sons from Kiev was a pure invention. They both finished well Polish school, and Taras knew the advantages of educating them there, but certainly Andrei felt in love with Natasha, and finally betrayed his father and his people. Taras was tough with himself and his family, but was also intelligent and educated, far to be a wild person as it is shown in the film. The film shows too many scenes of drinking and heavily eating by cosacks, it is impossible to deny that they did it heavily but it was more civilized, and far to be as wild as shown here. May be in the future a more successful remake can be done, more similar to the original Gogol's version.
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