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Eight-hour epic based on the book of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Two main story-lines are complex and intertwined. One is the love story of young Countess Natasha Rostova and Count Pierre Bezukhov, who is unhappy in his marriage. Another is the "Great Patriotic War" of 1812 against the invading Napoleon's Armies. The people of Russia from all classes of society stand up united against the enemy. The 500,000 strong Napoleon's army moves through Russia and causes much destruction culminating in the battle of Borodino. The Russian army has to retreat. Moscow is occupied, looted and burned down, but soon Napoleon loses control and has to flee. Both sides suffer tremendous losses in the war, and Russian society is left irrevocably changed. Written by
Ever since I've heard about this movie, I always wanted to see it. It was not until recently that I acquired a great Russian DVD copy with multiple subtitles. A restoration of the complete 7 1/2 hour long, widescreen version thought to be lost for a long time. It took me a whole week after work to see it all (4 DVDs + 1 of extras) and during the weekend I had to see it again, this time with company who also enjoyed it until the end.
I'm certainly not a movie critic or pretend to be so I'm not going to dissect and criticize this movie. It is just the urge to express my joy when I confirmed again that the cinema is undoubtedly a new form of art from the 20th century. It is a media that can display (audio visually) all the forms of art. Theater, music, paint and in this particular case, literature. I must confess that I never read the whole "war and peace" book, just a digest in high school. I calculate that it would take me at least a month of daily reading during a whole vacation with nothing else to do but to read the whole book. And in 5 years I m sure I'll remember the movie better than the book, just like many other movies made after the book. For instance; when I think of "A street car named desire" I immediately think of Brando yelling "STELLA", reading the Tennesee Williams play couldn't make me feel what the picture did, but the picture made me feel what Williams wanted me to feel. Many times the movie differs from the book and fails to deliver the message or feeling that the author pretends, usually because of the "natural handicap" that movies have which is the short time (usually 2 hours) to complete a whole novel. The best example to probe this should be the other "war and peace" from 1956. There is just no comparison. And since I'm not a critic I give this a 10.
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