Douglas is a foreign entrepreneur, who ventures to Russia in 1885 with dreams of selling a new, experimental steam-driven timber harvester in the wilds of Siberia. Jane is his assistant, ... See full summary »
St. Petersburg, mid 19th century: the indolent, middle-aged Oblomov lives in a flat with his older servant, Zakhar. He sleeps much of the day, dreaming of his childhood on his parents' ... See full summary »
A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.
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Douglas is a foreign entrepreneur, who ventures to Russia in 1885 with dreams of selling a new, experimental steam-driven timber harvester in the wilds of Siberia. Jane is his assistant, who falls in love with a young Russian officer, André, and spends the next 10 years perfecting the harvester and pursuing her love, who has been exiled to Siberia. Written by
This is not Mikhalkov's best film. Yet a Mikhalkov film is one that presents a story with a twinkle in the eye. His films come very near to the black comedy genre. Take his swipe at the average American not understanding Mozart's music--if it is taken literally, it will cloud the Mikhalkov perspective of life through cinema. That perspective is poles apart from the filmmaking of his half brother Andrei Mikhalkov Konchalovsky, who is serious and quite a bit of a perfectionist (he worked with Andrei Tarkovsky on his earlier movies), e.g. "Runaway Train" and "Shy People" made in Hollywood or "Siberiade" made in the former USSR.
Mikhalkov makes serious scenes seem light and a lark: the deportation to Siberia marked with opera singing; the dangerous duel that ends with a hero lying wounded in a Quixotic manner; a very tall Czar Alexander (the director) who puts down his queen with a most 'unroyal' remark. Mikhalkov and his half brother are great visualizers and have good ears for music--which is why the film is a treat to watch--natural splendors of Siberia, recreating a "Dr Zhivago" milieu with more authenticity than Mr Lean (who did a great job considering he could not shoot his film in the USSR).
I am a great admirer of good Russian cinema: especially the works of Tarkovsky, Kozintsev, Eisenstein, Konchalovsky, Talankin in that order. Mikhalkov is not the best but all his films are worth a view. But I have one suggestion--never take his films as what appears for there is a layer underneath the obvious--that needs to be seen tongue in cheek. And unlike Konchalovsky--the quality of direction is never consistent in Mikhalkov's works--it varies from the brilliant to the almost stupid.
But Mr Mikhalkov, what a pathetic waste of Richard Harris' talent to merely advertise his name in the credits for an insignificant role in a long movie...
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