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I too saw this movie on TV in Germany a long time ago. It is great. The glass architecture, the lockstep marching, the reduction of human life to mathematical equations, everybody being a number, is very chilling and disturbing. The movie is based on the novel of the same name ("Wir" in German, "We" in English) by Yevgeny Zamyatin, written in 1920 and a precursor and inspiration for "1984" and "Brave New World." I became a fan of Zamyatin (English spelling, Samjatin is the spelling in German) because of this movie. I have been looking for a copy of this movie for a long time. I even contacted the TV station (ZDF) for a DVD or video cassette, but they couldn't (or wouldn't) provide me with a copy. They really should release it on DVD.
It is long ago since I saw this film on TV. It is about time, to show it again or to produce a DVD! But I still remember the excellence of the actors presented in a innovative architecture of cells made of glass. Just looking on the growing sceneries of (video)surveillance in all area of our society this film is absolutely up-to-date and worth seeing. It is based on the book of Jewgenj Samjatin, written about 1920 (but never published in his homeland!), which seems to have inspired also Aldous Huxley ("Brave new world") and George Orwell ("1984"). Conclusion: A German-TV-Production of its best! It is a pity, that only few know that film. This has to change!
I've just discovered this adaptation of Zamyatin's visionary novel,
"We". I really like it, it is sober and close to the book. The choice
of a dominant of blue color is a good choice to me, a watery and
translucent color close to glass. In January,there has been a new
adaptation of the book by Rémi Orts project and Alan B (january 2015).
It's called "The Glass Fortress". It's a concept album, a rather
simplified version of the story, with slight changes,that Zamyatin
wouldn't disapprove. A short movie has been shot too.
In this world of "dictatorship of transparency", the Russian novel is more than ever actual and modern. I recommend "WIR", the album and the short movie "The Glass Fortress" as interesting complements of the book.
I was wrong to think that my most favourite dystopia had never been
filmed. There is actually a screen version, and those who filmed it
were the Western Germans, and the year was 1982. Since the crowd
funding project via the Russian Internet appeared to be unsuccessful as
the Russian world wouldn't give the hard-earned money for such cause as
a Russian filmisation of some century-old controversial novel by a
Russian-born emigrant writer, the Germans are unlikely to have
But... Never is a long day! Someone who really praises
this work of literature managed to get a qualitatively digitized copy
of its nearly dead screen version. And to translate it into Russian,
using the opportunity since the book is originally in Russian of
course. As a writer, Zamyatin is indeed quite controversial: some
praise his writings and some just loathe them, but one can't remain
indifferent about them, it takes only to start reading... Like it or
not, the novel 'We' has been popular all over the world for ages and,
in spite of being, in the respect of popularity, second to the Western
dystopias 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and 'Fahrenheit 451', does pretend to
be one of the most noted Russia-associations. However, the only 'We'
screen version is recalled in the West as well only by certain people
(who have watched it on TV). That one of the users here on the IMDb,
who applied to the German studio which had filmed it and was answered
that it had been lost, might be rather interested to find out it
finally surfaced! At least we Russians have now an opportunity to watch
the film to pay a tribute to a Russian who did something close to
revealing the entire genre to the world, dystopia fantastic novel!
Personally I'm a fan of this Zamyatin's work since the very first
opening of the book: at Russian schools, this novel is part of senior
pupils' syllabus (although it, finished in 1920, was first published in
the author's motherland only in 1988), as the modern authorities see a
strong anti-Soviet sarcasm in it, which is profitable for them. But as
for the film, taking my seat to watch it, I hardly expected anything
fine: I'm convinced of a priori mismatching of some books with their
screen versions. What I got, was quite a literal fidelity to the main
feature of the hypothetic remote-future society described by Zamyatin:
all inhabit the same glass rooms where blinds are drawn just for an
hour for a 'Sexual' one. As a matter of fact, when success in this
point of filming went to their heads, the filmmakers substantially
stinted themseves of all the rest. How much could be shown in a big
way: clashes of revolutionaries with Guardians, panic among those cogs
in the One State's machine who had first seen wildlife
Huh, they could
at least show those free apemen coated with hair! But the entire film
is just a curious and quite spectacular mirror trick as a scant number
of actors and extras reflect in mirrors manyfold, and cohorts of
'numbers' whose motions, synchronous and consuming not much power, are
bred-in-the-bone. A teleplay, not a true film. Perhaps a show ballet.
But no cinema magic. At that, at least some of the actors Dieter
Laser, Sabine von Maydell, Heinz Moog it's no trifle
But hey, some
guys perform on stage just as hobby and, on my honour, do no worse than
here; all they need is a lighting director who knows much about optics.
Darn! I clean forgot. The film has some cachectic nude.
But I perhaps have no right to resentment: my dream to watch a movie on my favourite novel has come true, and I, after all, know now that there is still the film 'We' and not just somewhere in mouldy archives! Zamyatin has, to a certain extent, been the mastermind behind the much-talked-of anti-totalitarianism authors: Aldous Huxley with his 'Brave New World'; George Orwell, '1984'; and Ray Bradbury, '451 °F'. I mean, it's profoundly symbolic that the author of the 'landmark decision' on how to denounce cynical social order in literary satire, was Russian. Well, the short story 'The New Utopia' by Jerome K. Jerome, the novel 'The Iron Heel' by Jack London were published prior to Zamyatin's 'We'; Jules Verne himself sometimes made free with his reputation by releasing novels like that ('The Begum's Millions' etc.) Yet, priority on this matter is ours as we ('second best' distressful; the Chinese are the 'best') have always had authorities that would just say 'Citizens die like flies? Never mind: women will bring new ones into the world' Yes, we have some classic writers whose works of mid 19th century in the best way possible revealed the essence of the fact that power was always spilling blood. Those who have read the poem 'The Railway' by Nikolai Nekrasov (about a host of the dead while constructing the first Russian railway) and the last chapter of 'The History of a Town' by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin (where the town's last Governor acted like no less than a totalitarian leader) can't but recall the deadly perfect One State where the Benefactor is able to ruin any 'number' with his love! Nowadays, there are certainly films casting a sinister dystopian mist over filmgoers from all over the world and really thrilling. But often, these films are pure fluff, just fun to watch. Examples include: 'Equilibrium' AKA 'Cubic', 'The Matrix', 'V for Vendetta', 'The Island' and 'Cloud Atlas' (well now, the latter is a crackerjack film due to the amazing South Korean 'Soap'!). But 'We' doesn't agree with the film business laws: you'd rather not film it at all if you can't involve such graphics as Cameron did in his 'Avatar'! However, that's my opinion, while the West Germans had a different one, and I, as a true lover of Zamyatin's novel, deep in my heart, can't but thank them for their nice try!
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