Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Movie: "Antimoz Iverieli" (2001)

Title: Antimoz Iverieli (Eng. Anthimos of Iberia)
Director: Giuli Chokhonelidze
Writer: Vaja Gigashvili
Stars: Giuli Chokhonelidze, George Lasha, Otar Megvinetukhutsesi
Duration: 3h 30min
Language: Georgian
Release: 2001
Information about St. Anthimos of Iberia:
Holy New Hieromartyr Anthimos, Metropolitan of Wallachia (+ 1716)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"Doctor Zhivago": Russian TV Mini-Series (2006)

In Doctor Zhivago, the life of a young doctor is intertwined with the fate of Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Yuri Zhivago is orphaned at a young age, and his uncle brings him to Moscow, where he studies medicine while living with his uncle's family. At a New Year's ball, he witnesses an assassination attempt on a high society lawyer named Komarovksy. What shocks Yuri is the identity of the shooter: Lara Gishar. By coincidence, he had been present earlier when Lara and Komarovsky first met at the Montenegro hotel. At the time, their magnetism and their unusual relationship, both extremely open and particularly secretive, revealed to the young doctor a world of emotions he had yet to experience. Yuri is told that Komarovsky played a role in his father's suicide, but this news has less effect on him than the chance meeting with Lara. At the beginning of WWI, Doctor Zhivago goes to the front, leaving his wife and children in Moscow. He is unaware that many years later Lara will touch his life again, changing it for ever; Yuri Zhivago's personal drama plays out against a backdrop of social and historical upheaval, with his generation's hopes and desires wiped out by war and revolution. Yuri's work and family suffer from his sense of having lost his bearings. Hoping to get back on his feet, he makes the fateful decision to leave Moscow and return to his family's house beyond the Urals. Yuri observes from the window of his train as a new Russia is born, and unexpected encounters during his travels come to symbolize for him the spirit of a new era. The people he meets in the train have been forged in this new world, and Yuri desperately tries to find his place among them, learning to live in the provinces and forgetting the dreams of his youth. As he lies on his bunk in the train, Yuri has no idea that Lara has also left Moscow, taking up residence not far from his family home.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Silent Film: "Salome" (1910)

This 1910 Italian film Salome is a rather crude 9-minute silent drama directed by Ugo Falena which claims to be based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name. I’m not sure Wilde would have appreciated them for cramming his wordy opus into a few brief scenes of gesticulating performances. The colors are a bonus, however, as this is hand-tinted throughout. Some of the music could have been better chosen.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Doctor Zhivago": An Orthodox Perspective

By Fr. Andrew Phillips

My first conscious exposure to Orthodox culture was through Doctor Zhivago, the novel by Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), the Russian poet, writer and translator of Shakespeare. This was when I was aged nine. The story overwhelmed me with its sense of destiny. I felt deeply at home in the culture portrayed. It came to influence me deeply and in my teens I knew many of its wholly Orthodox Christian poems by heart, feeling completely at home in their ethos. Later I was able to speak of this to Pasternak’s sister, Lydia Slater, in Oxford.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Amazon Video Debuts Russian Series About Catherine the Great

Russia is experiencing a golden age of fantastic, high quality historical dramatic TV series. Over the past couple of years subjects have included: the life of Russian civil war hero Admiral Kolchak, Rasputin (making the case he was a great guy, slandered and murdered by the British Secret Service), a screen adaptation of the epic novel Quiet Flows the Don, chronicling the experience of the Don Cossacks during WW1, the revolution, and the Russian civil war, and one following the history of the Romanov Tsars, among others.