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In the opulent St. Petersburg of the Empire period, Eugene Onegin is a jaded but dashing aristocrat - a man often lacking in empathy, who suffers from restlessness, melancholy and, finally, regret. Through his best friend Lensky, Onegin is introduced to the young Tatiana. A passionate and virtuous girl, she soon falls hopelessly under the spell of the aloof newcomer and professes her love for him. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
This is a very good film overall. Having grown up in Russia and being, as we would say here, `a great Pushkin's fan' ;-), I was caught between curiosity and caution when deciding whether I should even rent this film. Then I saw Ralph Fiennes name and thought that it could not be all that bad.so curiosity won. I was pleasantly surprised that the film is fairly faithful to the original. Not completely, of course, but when I think about horrible mutilations other filmmakers perform on marvelous works of literature, I'm very grateful that the producers of `Onegin' read the poem very well and chose scenes and changed some of them with care. I won't talk a lot about beauty of scenes in the film: it's a pleasure to watch. Here are some of the things I didn't like. First of all I was a little disappointed by the film's interiors. Several of them look very natural (some of the room's in Larin's and Onegin's houses). Others (like Petersburg palaces) more than anything resemble theatrical decorations. I don't think this was intentional, since the overall scenery is very realistic. Another objection is the lovemaking scene. I don't think it belongs or was needed at all. Was it just a due paid to modern filmmaking? Why not do Tatyana's dream instead (this is a meaningful symbolic scene in the poem, not filming it could hardly be an accidental decision, I would love to know what was the reason)? The third, kind of big problem is that married Tatyana is not clearly portrayed as the queen of Petersburg's society. This detail is very important for understanding of Onegin's character: a tragic figure who can only exist within the laws and decorations of high society - the very society he despises more than anything else. Tatyana, the queen of this society, a complete part of it and yet completely not involved with it, comfortably within and yet far above the chattering crowd - that very likely is the only thing Onegin can love. Unfortunately the question `am I noble enough for you now?' which Tatyana throws at Onegin during the climax scene of the film, does not fully convey that understanding and is an oversimplification compared to the speech that Pushkin's Tatyana gives to her fallen and still loved hero.
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