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The Countess Sofya, wife and muse to Leo Tolstoy, uses every trick of seduction on her husband's loyal disciple, whom she believes was the person responsible for Tolstoy signing a new will that leaves his work and property to the Russian people. Written by
Composer Sergei Yevtushenko wrote the entire score after reading the script and before filming had started. Michael Hoffman rejected it on principle but after several months, several composers and other attempts to score the film, he realized that Yevtushenko's score was perfect for the film. See more »
When Sofya is looking into Leo Tolstoy's diary it is written in modern Russian orthography which was not used at that time. See more »
Love and be loved. That's the only reality there is in the world.
He said that?
Yes, Tolstoy said it, but l'm saying it.
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I was out of the country when this film came out and so have looked forward a long while to watching it on DVD. What a disappointment. It was nothing but cheap melodrama. I don't know if that's how Jay Parini wrote it or if it was more how Michael Hoffman directed it, but in any case, it too often devolved into sentimentality. I understand that the tensions between Tolstoy, his wife, and the Tolstoyans that the film focused on are a historical fact. They may have been factually, in some instances, also as histrionic as the film represents. I'm quite willing to believe too that the histrionics were as much or more on the side of Chertkov and the Tolstoyans as on Countess Tolstoy's. Still, the portrayal of Chertkov as villain was so melodramatic that it's not an exaggeration to say that we see him twirling his mustache. Tolstoy was many things, but one of them was was the master of the realistic detail. Sorry, none here.
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