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I tried to read Goncharov's novel while in high school after having polished off books by Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and others, but Oblomov defeated me in the first few pages. It was just real tough to get into a story about a middle-aged, semi-retired government clerk who doesn't want to get out of bed all day. Now that I am middle-aged myself, I can relate to Oblomov's condition more. I still thought the first part of the movie (of which he actually does spend a good portion in bed) was slow, but after seeing the rest, I regretted never having finished the book. This is one of the greatest movies ever in any language describing what it is like to be depressed - afraid to make decisions and without energy to carry them out, and then what the consequences are of failing to act. With the help of his best friend, Stoltz, and his slogan "now or never" Oblomov manages to get out of his St. Petersburg apartment and begins to rebuild his life. Stoltz even introduces him to a young lady friend, Olga, and (while claiming she is "just a child") tells Oblomov that she and her aunt care take care of him (by keeping Oblomov from crawling back into bed) while he (Stoltz) is off to England. By Part II of the movie, Oblomov has shed 30 pounds and apparently 20 years, and has moved to the country, next door to Olga and her aunt. At this point the movie deals with romantic love from the point of view of a very shy, somewhat older man for a vibrant young woman, and it is this bitter-sweet part that is most moving and interesting. This is one of Nikita Mikhalkov's Soviet-period films, and while it is set is Czarist days and almost fondly lingers on the details of the opulent houses of the upper class, it also slips in several (mostly tongue-in-cheek) comments and observations about the inequality between classes and the uselessness of the aristocracy. For example, Oblomov, from his bed, chides his servant for doing nothing all day long. The cinematography is gorgeous. When Oblomov lazes in the grass among the birch trees, you can almost smell the countryside. This movie is slow to get started, but rewards the viewer's patience greatly by the end. Highly recommended!
Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov is a classic of Russian literature and a true masterpiece. It's a sociocritical and philosophical work and it anticipates the formation of the Russian revolution by showing the apathy, phlegm and decadence of the impoverished Russian (landed)gentry at the end of 19th century. The main character Oblomov is a very lovable yet weak-willed and frail nobleman. He lives in St.Petersburg and lives off the income of his manor which is far away and run-down. For days Oblomov just stays in his bed, thinking and lamenting about all the things he should do but his lethargy prevents him from taking care of these problems. He reflects on hectic daily life and what is important, the meaning of life. His counterpart is his best friend Stolz, a German. Stolz is vibrant, fun-loving and burning for action and he tries to pull out Oblomov from his lethargy but it's a very hard task. One day Oblomov falls in love... The book was written in the tradition of new realism in Russian literature, like Tolstoi, Dostojewski or Turgenjew. The interpretation of the story varies a lot between then and nowadays and critics are still arguing what Goncharov's real intention was. Many people see the novel as a swan song on Russian class society and tsardom; and it is essentially a Fin de Siècle novel. Oblomov is like the representative of a class that has outlived itself, a dinosaur of Russian nobility. It's not a coincidence that Stolz is German, he's a symbol for the modernistic and educational ideas that came from the West at that time. I agree with this interpretation on the whole, looking at the novel in the context when it was written. The novel was published in 1858, that was only 3 years before the official abolition of serfdom trough Alexander I, the beginning of extended reforms which couldn't prevent the progression of the coming revolution as we know today. Lenin later spoke at a party convention about "Oblomovism" in reference of the overthrown system, threatening that the days of Oblomovism are over. You'll even find this term today in Russian thesaurus. The other interpretation is that today many celebrate Oblomov as an icon of refusal and idleness and point out the more philosophical aspects of the story. In the days of globalisation and people worshipping "shareholder value" and the mighty dollar, Oblomov can indeed be seen as the hero of all deniers. Many of his thoughts in the novel are universal and pose questions to us that are more up to date then ever before it seems. The movie captures the essence of the story in a great way and is free of any Soviet propaganda influence you might detect in similar films; it's very accurate to the original work and one of the best literature film versions I've ever seen. The cast is wonderful, the cinematography is top notch and fits the moods of the story perfectly, sometimes dreamy (in the great outdoor scenes), sometimes realistic. Oblomov's character comes over every bit as lovable, melancholic and pensive as he is portrayed in the book. The end is a little abrupt and an important part of the story is missing. That's a pity and the reason I give this film 8 instead of 10 points; I wonder if the director encountered some problems there or if their budget was cut short for any reason. Who knows. Check this movie out, it will be hard to find I guess but it's a great work and a refreshing change when one is only used to modern films. Of course this gem should be watched in cinema and I still hope that my local art cinema will someday organise a Nikita Mikhalkov retrospective so I get the chance to see it on the big screen.
This story of a 19th-century Russian land owner (Oblomov) begins
slowly, with scenes that puzzle and seem almost contradictory. The
beginning denies you any emotional involvement, but as the film
progresses you're dragged into Oblomov's psyche.
Early on there's a scene where two young boys are spinning themselves around in the seat of a swing to get dizzy. That's almost the sensation you get as you find yourself completely immersed in Oblomov's world. Not that you're reeling or disoriented, but that everything else becomes shut out.
The film moves along at a genteel pace, and, in that unique Russian way, when emotions burst through the societal veneer, you're completely clobbered. It's like someone sneaking up from behind and conking you on the head. The human condition being what it is, it's impossible not to identify with Oblomov. For anyone who has ever deliberated, doubted, or procrastinated--in other words, everyone--this film provides layers and layers of meaning, gently filtered through a portrait of Russian gentry.
To my surprise, I find myself wanting to call this a great film. It seems an improbable tag for such a slender story. But the crafting of the film is absolutely top tier: acting, cinematography, pacing--everything, really. Put that together with the haunting subtext, and you get a film well worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just wanted to clarify some details for those who might not understand
them due to cultural differences. When you watch the movie, you suppose
to read between the lines, like reading most great Russian literature.
If you do not know what to look for, it might be hard to make sense.
1. There is a comparison of two households and two ways of upbringing: German and Russian. Shtolts' father is German, so from the very young age the boy was taught to work hard and do things right. On the contrary, Oblomov was taught unconditional love when he was loved for being who he is, even when he did not do anything. His always giving, self-sacrificing mother's love surrounds him like a cloud, a shrine of some sort, it is completely selfless and gentle. Only Russian mothers can love like that. Even though Oblomov gets hurt by not learning how to work hard, he inherits this deep love from his mother.
When Shtolts' father bids farewell to his son, he makes sure that his saddle is tight enough and promptly leaves. This is the way he shows his son that he loves him. The Russian peasants, that work for him, find this way of saying "Good bye" against Russian customs and nature. They all start crying and bawling for Shtolts and end up sending him off the Russian way. Shtolts feels that love and,in fact, shares it.
2. Even though Shtolts is better looking, more energetic, active, successful, etc. Olga falls in love with Oblomov. Why? She knows, he is the real thing. Oblomov loves her without any reservations, with all his heart, he will do anything for her. Oblomov could marry Olga but he makes personal sacrifice instead. He steps back, letting Shtolts win her hand. Why? Because his love is so deep, he is willing to sacrifice his own happiness. He wants Olga to be happy and he believes that Olga would be happier with Shtolts. Shtolts would not be able to make the same sacrifice for anyone.
3. In the end we see that Olga is deeply unhappy being married to Shtolts. She is always sick and cries often. Olga and Shtolts take Oblomov's son as his guardians after Oblomov's death. Olga keeps Oblomov's son at her side to remind her about Oblomov. When the real mother comes to visit, the boy runs for a long time because he also inherited that great love.
4. The whole movie has deep philosophical meaning. It is about Russian soul. Oblomov has it. Shtolts does not. Shtolts does not blame Oblomov, he loves him. If you can understand the reasons why Oblomov does what he does, you can understand Russia. Oblomov is not depressed, he is not lazy, but he is a dreamer, an idealist, and he just does not want to do things that he views as meaningless. He also tries to figure out the meaning of life for himself - what is his purpose in life? He would rather not do anything than do something he does not believe in. He lives with his heart, not with his head.
5. One more thing: why is this movie so slow? If you compare it to some Hollywood action movies, where a new event happens almost every second, it is just unbelievably slow. There are two reasons for this. First, when you watch Hollywood movies, you are not supposed to think. You supposed to be entertained. When you are watching good Russian movies, you have to do your part of thinking and deducting the meaning from subtle details, short dialogs, sometimes even single words and definitely objects. Everything has second, third, and sometimes even forth layer of meaning. If the movie goes too fast, you won't be able to process those details and figure out: what is the author is telling us? You have to feel this movie as well. Not every question will be answered, yet many questions will be raised. You have to be very deep, observant and intelligent to understand the depth of it. Every time I watch the ending, I cry, because of the feeling that the movie creates.
The second reason: this is how Russians used to live in 19 century (even now far away from the capital the life goes very slowly, not many things happen). It is just realistic and it captures the spirit.
Thanks for reading.
Now, this is not a story about Russian apathy, or the rot of
aristocracy that, as some "historians" claim, led to the October
This is a story about the immortality, and fragility of love. Love dies only to be reborn anew, it will not perish until the end of humankind. "Some days from the life of Oblovomov" is a deeply touching movie, with kind humor and some really sad scenes.
The actors are exceptionally talented and fit their roles perfectly - Oleg Tabakov, as a through-and-through melancholic and Yuri Bogatiryov deliver a really memorable performance. Even though it takes quite a while to get used to the movie's pace (it was filmed in USSR 30 years ago!), it's worth as it you see the story unfold.
Highly recommended for everyone with a taste for thoughtful movies.
According to the Kino DVD, this film won the Cannes Jury Prize upon its
release in 1979. Oleg Tabakov brings sensitivity to the title role- we
actually feel sympathy for this lovable loser who has lead a rather
unproductive life. He has worked in the past, but none of his dreams or
goals (if he ever had any) have come to fruition. As the character
develops, we discover that this isn't from laziness, but more that he's
afraid to take any risks in life. The director, Nikita Mikhalkov, won
the Oscar for Best Foreign film in '94 for Burnt By The Sun, but I
think Oblomov is actually the better film, with the caveat that it is a
little long. The films share a common theme of two men in love with the
same woman. And he also returns to E.Artemyev for the musical score of
the film (also includes Bellini's "Casta Diva" and music by
Oblomov and his best friend Stolz are so different in character that the film uses flashbacks to their upbringings to discover why. Stolz's relationship with his father is much more interesting than Oblomov's with his mother, and perhaps some editing here would help. The acting is great throughout, especially Oblomov's relationship with his servant Zakhar. The film has a couple of emotional climaxes, when Oblomov confesses his shame to Stolz in the sauna, and when he confesses his love for Olga on the gazebo. Olga's weeping at the end of the film suggests she has some regrets for past decisions. Oblomov's son running across the fields to visit his mother, well, someone else will have to elucidate that for me.
not a surprise. the novel by Goncharov is perfect choice for Mikhalkov style. Oleg Tabakov translate on screen the entire soft and fragile universe of his character. the atmosphere, the dialogs, the profound drama - pieces of a seductive film. and little more because, like in many same adaptations, the movie is a trip in the space between lines. Oblomov has new nuances. his struggle for happiness has new points who gives to the portrait from novel special significance. not a victim, not a symbol. but the good man who has a single challenge - himself. the portrait becomes seductive. and clear in new light. Tabakov explores the limits and the isles of illusion. and Mikhalkov has the courage and art and subtle science to transform the world of XIX century in shadow of a new Idiot. Oblomov becomes more realistic. and more easy to define it in a large measure. a film from a special art of seduction.
in many occasions, an adaptation is a war against novel. modifications, lost of book spirit, innovations or only errors. in this case, the masterpiece of Goncharov is key for open the Nikita Michalkov universe. recipes - respect for text, good cast, precise performance, Slav flavor. only is at right place. the drama of poor Oblomov is reconstructed, piece by piece, level by level, with grace, respect and love. more than a film, it may be a portrait or homage. and basic victory is science to transform the story in warm drawing of feelings and expectations, sins and fall. it is not a surprise. only new demonstration of Mikhalkow subtle art. and this is, for each of his films, the sign who makes difference, who gives a kind of aura to every movie and births air of refined melancholia.
A definitively executed rendering of a work of romanticism; it's depth largely exceeding what can be attained from within a culture, such as the north american, that has either lost its history, or never had one; this to warn it is unlikely to be appreciated by one not already steeped in the film or theater of europe or the slavs. To someone who is, a sweet but not light experience: its lessons and philosophies cannot be contained, but envelope the reader, in his own life.
It only has one part that is really funny. It is a good story, but I think that it is just a little too long. The color is not too good. The actress which acts as Oblomov's girlfriend is very good. She expressed her feelings well. she laughed, she cried, those are very authentic.
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