This version of the Tolstoy novel is cinematically conventional, but grips like a drowner in the writing and acting. Pozdnyshev (Yankovsky), who murdered his wife, pours out an agonised confession to a fellow-traveller on a train. His chastening tale of a relationship which stifled both parties, twisted into jealousy, and ended in violence, is explored in flashback. She (Seleznyova) first caught his eye in a drawing room entertainment by the sheer physical joy of her response to music. Life with him soon snuffed that out; and years later, he sees it again on her face as she plays the Beethoven piece with a philandering violin virtuoso. Only when she is dying does he realise what he has destroyed, and feel for another's life. Neither Albee nor Bergman dug any deeper into the pain of the loveless marriage, and Tolstoy, of course, rises to more universal levels. Yankovsky's performance is a tour de force; it invades the emotions and forces you to understand.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Mikhail Schweitzer, Sofia Milkina|