This film, based on a story by Anton Chekhov, may not be for everyone. But for lovers of Chekhov, it is indispensable. The central character is a distinguished professor of medicine who is bored with his life, his job, and his family. None of his students display any initiative or originality. His daughters, obsessed with fashion, attract only spineless and shallow suitors. His wife lives in the same superficial world. Then his former protégé, a young woman who left to become a successful actress, returns to his provincial town. Since this is Chekhov, we know that there will not be any neat resolutions or happy endings, just poignant reminders of youthful ideals and lost happiness. But Chekhov's characters never lose hope altogether, and we can't help identifying with them. Chekhov, by the way, was a country physician, which gave him access to the lives and troubles of a great variety of people.
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