Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Being Faithful to the Idiot

My wife and I watched Bortko's The Idiot. Bortko takes the novel scene by scene, with only a few liberties mostly for the sake of clarity.  The casting is excellent, but I have to say that Inna Churikova steals the show with her excellent portrayal of Lizaveta Prokofyevna, the matriarch of the Epanchin family.  She is shown in the picture counseling the Prince.

I thought Bortko was spot on in the first have of the series, but somehow lost control of the Prince in the second half.  Of course, such a character is very hard to pin down.  My wife said it just about proved the ruin of Yuriy Yakovlev, who had a nervous breakdown after filming a much shorter earlier production (1958).  His performance vaulted him to fame in Soviet cinema.  You can see Yevgeni Mironov struggle with his role in the second half, playing the Prince much too pensively.  You don't so much get a sense of the Prince's anguish as you do his confusion and woeful indecision with the events swirling around him. 

Vladimir Mashkov was excellent as the Prince's dark "double" Rogozhin.  I've enjoyed Mashkov in other movies, particular The Thief (1997).  Lidiya Velezheva was also very good as Nastya, capturing her haugthiness and sudden mood swings very well.  Olga Budina seemed to struggle with her role as Aglaya, afflicted by the same insecurity as Mironov at times.

Konstantin Klioutchkine has written an interesting piece on this television production for Kinokultura.


  1. I am watching it now, I have watched the first 7 parts. I have also read the book in the English translation. I think you are right about the mother of the Epanchin family, also I liked Ippolit, Rogozhin and Nastasya Fillipovna.

    Although I have not seen the end I am disappoitned they did not really touch on Myshkin's earlier life in Switzerland and France. I guess they didn't have the budget to take the production to the Swiss alps when he was reciving treatment there. It is often alluded to in the book

  2. Nice of you to drop in, Napoleon. They allude to his time in Switzerland in the mini-series as well, and there are a few mountain scenes to recall the Alps. I just don't think the director and actor fully understood the Prince's character.

    Look forward to more of you comments.

  3. Yes, you have a good blogsite. I will subscribe as I am interested in Russian language, literature and culture,