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Author Topic: Bondarchuks War and Peace  (Read 5970 times)
Poggle
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« on: July 17, 2006, 06:07:23 PM »

What do you think about it?

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2006, 08:27:40 AM »

I've only watched it once but I was impressed. Well staged battles, interesting characters, etc. Very long, though, requires a large time commitment to view (although you can break it up into segments if you have the DVD: the version by Russico is best, it preserves the OAR).

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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2006, 11:37:38 AM »

I have the 4 disc set now. I first saw this on TV when BBC2 showed it in two parts on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon...Bank Holiday i think and got tit on DVD Aa couple of years ago. Great battle scenes and cinematography.

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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2006, 10:36:53 PM »

Got Sergei M. Eisenstein's ĦQue Viva Mexico! - Da zdravstvuyet Meksika! watched a few minutes of it tonight its narrated by Bondarchuk, with subtitles, but the cinematography is stunning

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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2006, 02:12:26 AM »

Isn't that with Franco Nero? What is it like? I've been wanting to see his two revolution movies. How are you seeing it? TV? DVD?

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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2006, 03:12:36 PM »

No this is a 1935 film by Eisenstein (Battleship Potempkin) that was reconstucted after his death, its pretty good showing Mexico if that time period sort of a quasi documentary.

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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2006, 04:24:39 PM »

Oops, I just saw Sergei, I didn't see Eisenstein Grin

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2006, 05:20:49 PM »

I've got the old Metro Tartan box set, 3 VHS release. Horribly compromised in many ways, but as I got it for free I'm not complaining (it cost $90 on it's release, and that was about 10 years ago!).

That Bondarchuk both directs, writes and casts himself as the hero of a 511 minute film is, if nothing else a testament to one man's massive ego. That he manages to show flashes of brilliance both as a director and actor is something of a bonus.

Certainly his Pierre is much closer to Tolstoy's origional physically and as troubled philosopher than Henry Fonda's attempt at the same part in the abysmal King Vidor, 1956 Hollywood version. Fonda just looks uncomfortable, stiff and unsure of what the hell he is doing there (you can almost imagin him muttering "Goddammed Pinko bastards!" under his breath).

For me where both the film and book fall down is in the main romance between flighty, scawny young Natasha and Prince Bolkonsky. I hate the pair of them, and as soon as they appear I would quite happily see both of them dead. Dreadful archetypes, and all too Tolstoy. That Anna Karenina and Vronsky manage to be even more f*****g irritation along with the boring, boring, GOD HE'S BORING Levin must make Tolstoy a master of infuriating heros if nothing else. Indeed so awful, spoiled, narcissistic and selfish are so many of the "admirable" characters in 19th century Russian literature, you can't help thinking, "No wonder they had a revolution."

Back to the film. Its good points are certainly in it's most epic moments, such as the battle of Borodino, an immense section of the movie, and the burning of Moscow. Bonderchuck is so pleased with some of techniques he pioneers here that he uses them again in the later WATERLOO (discussed elsewhere on the board recently).

Bonderchuck was (and remained so untill his death) a bit of an old unreconstructed Stalinist, so his modernist, experimental approach to so many sequences in WAR AND PEACE remain surprising. Where a strict adherence to Socialist Realism would be expected, he quite happily explores repressed early Soviet movie techniques like "Ostranenie", and the final result is all the better for it. Also still striking are the blatently patriotic arial shots of "Mother" Russia opening each part of the movie, like a shout of joy.

Sergie's beautiful daughter Natalya would go on to star in dissedent film maker Andrie Tarkovsky's SOLARIS. At the time WAR AND PEACE was in production Tarkovsky was beginning work on the Soviet Union's second most expensive epic ever (after Bonderchuck's film) ANDRIE RUBLYOV, starring the future Mr. Natalya Bondarchuk, Nikolai Burlyayev. Perhaps hanging out with young Soviets like these helped lighten up the old grouch.

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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 07:09:20 PM »

No this is a 1935 film by Eisenstein (Battleship Potempkin)


boy did that movie reek. Battleship Potemkin was so dated even when it was released.

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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2006, 05:59:22 AM »


Battleship Potemkin was so dated even when it was released.

Was this written as a kind of bizarre provocation? For decades this was considered by most critics to be the best film ever made, constantly topping "top ten" poles, with countless books and articles published since its release. The Odessa steps sequence must be the most imitated movie moment ever shot.

Leone himself uses Eisenstein's notion of "typage", essential when presenting dialogue free or monosylabic characters.

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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2006, 08:47:41 AM »

One can agree that a film is historically significant and highly influencial without finding it entertaining. Are you trying to tell us, Juan, that you can watch BP repeatedly with increasing enjoyment? (The mark of a truly great film, to my mind.) You are right that establishment critics considered the movie the best ever made at one time: it is interesting to note that it has not maintained its position as those older critics have retired and died.

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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2006, 08:59:48 AM »

I couldn't care less what critics think, I was just using the historical concencous of opinion on the picture to show the absurdity of claiming it was already dated on it's release.

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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2006, 09:25:55 AM »

Quote
it is interesting to note that it has not maintained its position as those older critics have retired and died.


I didn't like so much the movie not even when those critics were alive: I always thought the movie to be too schematic (white hats vs black hats) and preferred the same director's October (one of the peaks of cinematographic art: that will stay even when I'm dead) and Ivan. The fact that younger generations have an ingrained ignorance of the past is only natural. So I think that, if the new critics are those who make much of current (meaning the last 25 years) Hollywood shit, I'll go with those who pronounced this movie the best ever all the way.

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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2006, 01:59:28 PM »

I couldn't care less what critics think, I was just using the historical concencous of opinion on the picture to show the absurdity of claiming it was already dated on it's release.
what was so special about it? The editing?
Chaplin had been doing more inventive things with editing long before Potemkin.


overrated, and over blown
I say.

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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2006, 02:04:49 PM »

Was this written as a kind of bizarre provocation? For decades this was considered by most critics to be the best film ever made, constantly topping "top ten" poles, with countless books and articles published since its release. The Odessa steps sequence must be the most imitated movie moment ever shot.



and no I didnt mean to offend and I couldnt give a rats ass what the critics had to say during that time.

The Odessa steps with the baby carriage and the woman screaming yadda yadda yadda...big deal. Thats all I ever hear from others when talking about this film. the "Odessa steps"! If thats the case why watch the rest of the film? just fast forward to that less than 20 second sequence and watch it. save yourself the time of watching the rest of this dreary movie. Like I said....
Comedic entertainers were doing far more elaborate (and far more entertaining) things with their films at the time.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 02:09:34 PM by The Firecracker » Logged



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