Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anna Karenin(a)

In 2008 Sergei Solov’ev re-adapted Anna Karenina for Russian television. As Banerjee notes in her review, there have been 24 adaptations to date, dating from 1914, with perhaps the two most memorable being the 1948 version with Vivien Leigh and the 1967 Soviet version, not to mention the ballet featuring Maya Plisetskaya.  All though, there had been earlier operatic versions dating back to 1905.  But, Solov'ev apparently gives Tolstoy's classic a bold new look, so I'm trying to hunt down a copy to see what he has created.

Anna is one of those immortal beings that has captivated audiences all over the world for over a century.  A few years ago, I read the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, which had been vaulted to bestseller status thanks to Oprah's Effect.  They certainly made the story more accessible than the previously widely read Constance Garnett translation, which I found to be quite tedious.

Like the other new Russian television productions, Solov'ev pretty much takes the novel scene by scene, only breaking it down into five instead of eight parts.  It also looks like he has saturated his version in brilliant colors, foliage and a preponderance of  Russian flags, firmly rooting this movie in Russia's reclaimed sense of nationalism.

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