Karamazovi (The Karamazovs) (The Karamazov Brothers)

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Average Rating: 4.3/5

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Movie Info

A film that examines the relationships between lives on both sides of the proscenium, Petr Zelenka's Karamazovi finds a Prague-based theatrical ensemble arriving in Krakow, Poland - where its members prepare to mount a stage production of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. The central catch behind this unusual production is the locale: the play will be conducted at the local steelworks. Zelenka's central narrative crisscrosses two spheres of reality - the documentary-like sphere of the actors playing the characters, and the more traditional cinematic narrative involving the characters in the play itself. Soon, distinct, haunting parallels between the two begin to emerge. Then, an unexpected tragedy arrives from out of left field that brutally impacts one of the spectators of the play, and further echoes the structure and preoccupations of the tale in the original novel. Throughout, Zelenka explores one central theme: that of intellectuals and their moral accountability to a world that has lost both spiritual faith and a bedrock of ethos.


Critic Reviews for Karamazovi (The Karamazovs) (The Karamazov Brothers)

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

The phenomenal legit performances are alone worth the price of admission, but a side story involving the troupe at a festival in Poland adds extra weight and underlines the timelessness of Dostoyevsky's themes.

Aug 19, 2008
Top Critic

The devil's in the steel mill.

Feb 17, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Karamazovi (The Karamazovs) (The Karamazov Brothers)

I saw this at the Cleveland International Film Fest. It's a play within a play movie. I enjoyed the topic of this movie a little more than my wife did. There's a theater festival trying to bring the arts to real people in found spaces. The theater troupe has some of its own drama and finds a little more as they rehearse in a factory where workers are still going about their day. The script is very creative as the actors effortlessly go in and out of character. I'm assuming the book is fairly long and to completely tell the story would take a while, so the actors all deliver their lines very rapidly. You can tell the movie is really trying to push its pace and not drag on too long. But on the other hand, reading the subtitles became difficult at times because of the speed of the dialog. There are four brothers Karamazov and their father. One brother is pious and faithful and always says the right thing, the second brother believes in God and living a moral life but through women and money and a combination of his muscle and anger always seems to do the wrong thing, the third brother is educated and has come to the philosophical position of Atheism but still lives civilly, not as if everything is permitted, and the fourth brother (by a different mother and unknown to the other three till later) looks up to the Atheist brother, is uneducated, and takes the idea that everything is permitted literally. The father insults and disowns his sons and pits brother against brother as he fancies. Sometimes he pretends to be pious and challenges the Atheist brothers, sometimes he plays with doubt and challenges the Christian brothers. Well, eventually the father is murdered and there is a big trial. "Patricide, the killing of the father is the worst crime known to man." This quote must have been an important theme of Dostoyevsky's novel because it is repeated again and again in this movie. Symbolically this suggests the Atheist position. I'm not sure exactly how the time line of this novel being written lines up with Nietzsche's writings, but there seems to be some relationship. Anyways, all four brothers are somewhat responsible to lesser or greater degrees for their father's death. I do not totally agree with Dostoyevsky's portrayal of Atheism, having come from a Christian background and finding that they do not have all the answers either. Still the story of moral struggle is well acted by the theater troupe. And for those who are familiar with the story, the addition of the factory workers, one in particular, adds a further twist when maybe you thought the story couldn't end on a more troublesome or tragic note.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

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