In 16th-century Russia in the grip of chaos, Ivan the Terrible strongly believes he is vested with a holy mission. Believing he can understand and interpret the signs, he sees the Last ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Ramilya Iskander ...
Mariya Temryukovna
Anastasiya Dontsova ...
Masha
...
Aleksei Basmanov
...
Fedka Basmanov
...
Heinrich Staden (as Ville Khaapasalo)
Aleksey Frandetti ...
Kai-Bulat
...
Vassian
...
...
General Kolychev
Andrey Bronnikov ...
Ilidor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Aleksandr Lobanov ...
Mitka Pleshcheev
Aleksandr Makarov ...
Voevoda Buturlin
Artyom Mazunov
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Storyline

In 16th-century Russia in the grip of chaos, Ivan the Terrible strongly believes he is vested with a holy mission. Believing he can understand and interpret the signs, he sees the Last Judgment approaching. He establishes absolute power, cruelly destroying anyone who gets in his way. During this reign of terror, Philip, the superior of the monastery on the Solovetsky Islands, a great scholar and Ivan's close friend, dares to oppose the sovereign's mystical tyranny. What follows is a clash between two completely opposite visions of the world, smashing morality and justice, God and men. A grand-scale film with excellent leading roles by Mamonov and Yankovsky. An allegory of Stalinist Russia. Written by Warsaw Film Festival

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Genres:

Drama | History

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4 November 2009 (Russia)  »

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2.35 : 1
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Featured in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2009 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely
21 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

A fine historical drama in a great Shakespearian tradition. There may be historical inaccuracies, and there may be miraculous occurrences that would clearly be impossible in real life. But that is beside the point. We don't chide Shakespeare for being historically inaccurate or for events taking an unlikely turn. What matters is the insight he gives us in the human condition with all its failings. Ivan is the classical image of a dictator that is sucked down in a negative spiral of his own making. The people who speak up against him are violently dealt with. The flatterers and opportunists who play along with him cause him to be more and more detached from reality, and more and more lonely. The parallel with Stalin is obvious, but somehow the greater distance in time makes the message more abstract and therefore more powerful.

The metropolitan is slow to grasp the depth to which his childhood friend has sunk, but when he does the way in which he stands up to Ivan in word and deed is both moving and inspiring. Since this is a movie and not a stage play, the effectiveness of the storytelling is helped more by beautiful cinematography and evocative music than by profound dialog. In the end I found it inspiring and disturbing at the same time.


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