Voyna i Mir (War and Peace) Reviews
Well, survived it, but i must say it is georgous to look at, never boring, but sometimes a bit dull and liveless. There are too many monologues and too many war scenes, not enough dialogues and poor natasha rostova as the bad end of the straw, her story is not exploited enough, especially the Kuraghin plot is left out. but the camera work is for that age ( 65) beautufull and innovating
War and Peace takes place in tsarists Russian empire during the Napoleonic wars from the battle of Austerlitz to the Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. We follow the Russian nobility in their every day life. All their parties, their problems and we also follow some of them in combat. The three main character in this film are Pierre Bezukhov and Price Andrei Bolkonsky who are both at one point in love with young and beautiful Natasha Rostova.
The History behind this film is quiet amazing. You can see that this is an outstanding production that took years to film. Reconstructed battle scenes were filmed on the location where the battle was fought in real life, like with the battle of Borodino where the whole battle have a running time of 45 minutes. This was probably the most amazing thing that the world had seen on that point. Use of handheld camera, filming from above shot, 100.000 extras. And all this done without CGI animations.
This is a wonderful mix with many small elements, but the most important main theme that they really have been able to catch is of course the horrible theme war, and the movie seems to focuses on that theme while themes like, politics, economy and religion which is very much a part of the book is pretty much toned down or never mention at all, and I respect that. Bondarchuk really have handled the theme war as perfect as it could have been, or more powerful than I could have imagine. He is able to show us a totally chaotic view of the war which is more closer to reality.
One of the best scenes I think is when Pierre tries to help a lady to find her missing child in all chaos, while the french steal every silver cutlery they can find while Moscow is on fire. All the voices, the screaming children. All this filmed with a handheld camera, makes it one of the most powerful and tear dropping scenes I've ever seen.
This such a great spectacular piece of Soviet filmmaking. You can see elements of such other great soviet artist such as Sergei Eisenstein's use of montage where so much is happening at once such as he did possible with some stairs in Odessa. And there also some element from Andrei Tarkovsky's beautiful and dreamy landscape shots. To put it short it's contains the greatest elements from the two greatest artist in Russian cinema.
My conclusion about this film is that if you are one of those who have read the novel this would probably be the most satisfying version compared to the Hollywood version for instance. Of course there are somethings that I missed from the book, but I can also understand why the chose not to. but this is a surprisingly good film that I can't wait to see again some day. A good long film, that one which could have been even longer, even though it's already almost seven hours long. I guess it mustn't been any questions between the academy members that this shouldn't be the winner of the best foreign film award. A mile thumbs up.
The movie has a dream-like quality which I liked (pardon the pun)