The true story of one of Russia's most tyrannical leaders is given a new screen adaptation in this historical drama from director Pavel Lounguine. In the 16th century, Tsar Ivan IV (Pyotr Mamonov) had already gained the nickname "Ivan The Terrible" for his anger and violent paranoia, and as he becomes more increasingly devoted to the Russian Orthodox faith (especially as many of his enemies in other lands are Muslim), he's found himself having profound disagreements with church leaders. Ivan appoints his longtime friend Filipp (Oleg Yankovsky) as the church's new metropolitan, but Filipp finds himself in an uncomfortable position when his rulings on doctrine run counter to the wishes of Ivan and his fierce loyalists, including Tsarina Maria Temryukovna (Ramilya Iskander). After the Polish army takes the city of Polotsk, Ivan orders the execution of his military leaders; Filipp gives the condemned men sanctuary in his church, but in time he's forced to give in to Ivan and his personal army. A severe rift grows between Ivan and Filipp as the latter becomes convinced he cannot serve God and the tsar at the same time. Tzar (aka Tsar) was an official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened as part of the "Un Certain Regard" program. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Tzar
Both spectacular and pious, "Tsar" positions itself between Sergei Eisenstein's "Ivan the Terrible" and Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev," though without their originality and inspiration.
Despite handsome production values and rich, atmospheric lensing by Clint Eastwood regular Tom Stern, this is a heavy meal to digest outside the fest arena.
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