dangermousie: (Lives of Others by alexandral)
[personal profile] dangermousie
I have bought a DVD of a movie from my childhood and have been watching Звезда пленительного счастья (The Captivating Star of Happiness), a Russian movie from the 1970s.

The movie is set during the years surrounding the Decembrist Revolt in 1825 (short version, if you don't feel like reading the wiki article, is that a group of Russian aristocrats, most of them veterans of Napoleonic Wars, demanded constitutional monarchy, revolted against Czar Nicholas I, and got either executed or exiled to Siberia for their trouble). It's not a political movie, however, but instead centers around the wives of Decembrists, who decided to give up their families, their aristocratic privileges, and basically their entire lives to follow their husbands to Siberia.* It's quite romantic and quite depressing at the same time - basically just made for me.

I haven't seen this movie in years, but it's quite as lovely as I remembered: I love the swimming camera and the looping narrative structure with nonlinear flashbacks. The movie is available on Region 1 with Engish subtitles, but be warned: the things I love about it (the looping structure) may make it a bit hard to follow for those who are not familiar with the story/individuals already (when I was growing up, everybody knew the events this was based on) because the movie doesn't pause to explain and, as I say, loops in onto itself sometimes which might confuse.

Anyway, give it a try?

I couldn't find many youtube vids, but here is one. The most famous thing about this well-known movie was the song written for it by Bulat Okudzhava, and here is a scene from the movie where that song is played.



* This story inspired someone as different from the maker of the movie as Alexandre Dumas. He wrote a novel called "The Fencing Master," about a Frenchwoman who was a mistress of one of the Decembrists, followed him into exile and married him in prison - he changed the names but based it on a true story, and got banned from Russia for the book.

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dangermousie

November 2012

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