A Russian Prince experiences battle against Napoleon and a troubled relationship with his father and wife. Finds acceptance of her death and eventually his chance of true love. A spoiled, ... See full summary »
A Russian Prince experiences battle against Napoleon and a troubled relationship with his father and wife. Finds acceptance of her death and eventually his chance of true love. A spoiled, high-society fickle young woman loves and her years of unhappiness. A Count illegitimate, idler son reflects on politics and friendship. Experiences his first and hopeless love, is forced into a marriage with serious consequences and finally survives Napoleon invasion of Moscow and its aftermath. Written by
War and Peace (1967/Russian version) is the most accurately represented film of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace novel. Since I read the novel in order to make a report on it, I was able to get the "provenance" of the entire setting in the 1967 movie. The 2007 version actually seemed to be a generic "period play" being passed off to unsuspecting viewers of the real import of the movie and it comes across only as a lighthearted attempt to portray two lovers trying to "get it together". It was sort of like watching Gone with the Wind in Russia. The "acting out" of the two main characters in their attempt to give it a "modern interpretive twist" to each of the major characters' behaviour failed to reflect the mindset of the individuals they portrayed as well as accurately reveal the worldview of a culture in the throes of a historic drama. While the 2007 cast members were enjoyable to watch (they were excellent actors), I found it somewhat ridiculous to see Natasha and Andre pulling out each other's tongue in the kissing scene, even though it was titillating to watch. An intelligent understanding of the complexity of the royal class mindset of that time prohibited such a reaction between two people who barely knew each other (especially when the male was twice the female's age and they each belonged to a different class structure) and who were about to be "betrothed" in the anachronistic sense of the word that was a characteristic of that society and one with which we are unable to relate to.
I would suggest that anyone wanting to see a well-developed thematic presentation of Tolstoy's War and Peace would do themselves a favor by watching the film version that was made in 1967. While you would find some of it confusing-i.e., their conversation, their dialogue with themselves, their viewpoints within that society, which were distinctively Russian, you would come to the conclusion that the director of the Russian version with the Russian actors did indeed depict accurately how the Russian aristocracy behaved in their attempts to mimic the French within their own parameters, making them appear somewhat boorish as well as comical as they tried to live their lives in that era of Russian society. You would see their frustration in their everyday lives as well as their consternation over the dilemma of keeping Napoleon out of their country and their eventual failure to do so. However, you are elated when you see how their Tsar-appointed General commands the respect and loyalty of the Russian troops, leading them to an ultimate victory and watching the French flee Russia in disgrace. Which is really what the book is all about.
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