Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is it time to revisit War and Peace?

There's an excellent discussion of the new Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of Tolstoy's War and Peace here on the "Reading Room" blog of the Times. Makes me long to revisit the novel - although I admit a certain tender nostalgia for the Constance Garnett version I grew up with!

Or perhaps I should simply revisit the Russian film version (which represents only a somewhat smaller time investment!). The clip above is from Film 3 of Sergei Bondarchuk's titanic vision of the novel (and that's the director himself as Pierre, wandering through the carnage in a top hat). Filmed with the assistance of the Soviet army - and clearly conceived as both a response to and an evocation of the war against Hitler - the siege of Borodino has been realized at a scale that no other film (at least from the sound era) has achieved. This clip concludes with the famous helicopter tracking shot of the battle.

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