Russian Literature

Hello sweeties,

Are there Maxïmo Park’s fans over here? I am and Russian Literature is one of my favourite songs of them. This track is so perfect.

Anyway, I’m not going to talk about the band actually, but about Anna Karenina that I saw last weekend. It’s from the eponym Leon Tolstoy’s novel. I’ve heard very bad critics and very good critics about the film and I really wanted to have my own opinion.

Anna is an aristocrat, married to Count Karenin, a russian statesman. She has a pleasant life due to her statute. But then, she meets the seducing Count Vronsky, an officer. She will have an affair with him and this will cause her happiness as well as her ruin.

As you have understood, Anna Karenina is about love. Love and reason, and the apparent contradiction between the 2 notions. Can you explain love? Is love necessarily irrational? And after all, what is love? I think the film is all about this. Sounds cheesy when you read my lines, but it’s not that much in the film.
 But beside the love part, there’s a more political/social side : the place of women in society and the social pressure issue. My friend and I were pretty surprised to see that women actually had a say and had a non negligent underlying influence at this time and in Russia, at least in the aristocratic class. I know it’s a fictional story, but I believe the social part is based on reality (am I wrong? If someone can tell me, they’re welcome!). The history of Russia is unknown to me, so it was interesting to see.

Esthetically, it’s wonderful. The costumes, the decor, the landscapes… The photography is fantastic sometimes. Well, ok, it’s Russia and aristocracy, so it is beautiful to watch, but still. The dance scene is sublime, helped by the soundtrack.

The film making is particular. It’s between film and theater. It’s quite destabilizing at first, I felt kind of lost at the beginning. But I think that it perfectly suits the story and the *russian atmosphere*. Plus, it makes the film very entertaining and you hardly get bored with this system of storytelling. There’s only one moment that I found a bit long, when Anna is smoking in her dressing gown. But the rest of the film has a good rhythm. To me, it’s well orchestrated.

Keira Knightley is not bad as Anna. I really think she is made for this kind of role. Period dresses fit her so well. I wasn’t totally convinced by her interpretation but I guess it’s ok. She’s good at playing craziness though. On the other hand, Jude Law is incredible. Really. I didn’t really have an opinion about his acting before, but he’s very good in Anna Karenina.

In short, Anna Karenina is a beautiful film. I didn’t read Tolstoy’s novel yet, but I can’t wait to do so.

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