take_five

Senior Member
Hello,

I had enjoyed the works of many English speaking film directors for years back in the day (I don’t watch films often now though). Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, Peter Jackson, James Cameron were among them. I highly regarded Stanley Kubrick for his amazingly beautiful film called 'Barry Lyndon'. The cinematography is stunning. There are multiple shots during the film that can be taken out and used as Windows wallpapers or framed in and put to wall as a picture. It is just a feast for the eye. I regarded Peter Jackson for his ability to show such an immense and exciting battle scenes (yes, computer graphics is heavily used but still) and such an immense atmosphere in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

However, I somehow missed the outstanding Russian speaking film directors. Recently, I had a chance to watch the film called 'War and Peace' by Sergei Bondarchuk. It took the Oscar back in 1967. It is based on the eponymous novel by Leo Tolstoy (which is partially based on the great historical events like the French invasion of Russia in 1812). As you may know ‘War and Peace’ is one of the most famous and highly regarded novels in literature.

What should I say? The film, ‘War and Peace’, is a masterpiece, hands down! Now this film and this film director is definitely in my all-time favorite list. I did not even know there was such a genius film director among my fellow citizens. The cinematography is a sheer masterpiece. I thought that Kubrick was the only genius in this field. Nope, I was so wrong. Bondarchuk is at least in the same niche. It is also important to note that chronologically Bondarchuk was the first, he shot his ‘War and Peace’ (1965-1967) about 10 years earlier than Kubrick did his ‘Barry Lyndon’ (1975). There are so many innovative things Bondarchuk used in his film that I was really shocked. It is just a visual splendor. Many other directors used some of his innovative ideas later. ‘War and Peace’ is unsurpassed in so many ways.

The battle scenes, which do not use any computer graphics, obviously, are second to none. All those many hundreds of actors are real as opposed to modern day films with CAD like ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Just jaw-dropping. Off the top of my head, cannon volleys are one of those many great-looking things in the film.

The costumes and the palace interiors are splendid. It is an utterly expensive film, most costly among all films made in the USSR. They spent so much money on all these grand scale battle scenes, luxurious balls etc.

What am I trying to say? If you like beautiful cinematography and you are into photography, if you like grand battle scenes you definitely should watch this movie. The only problem for most of you, gentlemen, is that it is in Russian. So you have to either turn the English subtitles on or find an English version.

The film is long. Get ready. It has 4 parts. Be noted that there are some philosophical thoughts and discussions throughout the film. While it may be worthy to some watchers, it may seem boring to others.

Below is the restored version of it (the first part).

The restored version means that the film is the same of course yet the colors are more bright and vivid.

Here are some screenshots from the film. They look like paintings. Hope you'd enjoy it.
 

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MarcDavidMiller

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My ex-mother in law (Moscow native) worked on the costumes, along with literally hundreds of others.

In terms of resources, the film was a national priority to be made, and would easily cost US$2-3 billion today to reproduce (that figure was from a private conversation with Nikita Mikhalkov in 2010). It was released in four parts in 1966 and 1967, to much acclaim.

In terms of impact, most Russian cultural figures consider this film to be a world treasure on the level of the Hermitage or Red Square.

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