A Close Viewing: Bondarchuk's War and Peace, Part III

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 7:00pm

NOTE LOCATION: This screening will take place at the Film Studies Center, Cobb 307.

Introduction and post-film discussion by William Nickell, assistant professor of Russian literature, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures.

Like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the depiction of the Battle of Borodino in Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace is a bombastic and bone-shaking work of art. It is a legendary technological and organizational achievement, featuring thousands of extras and explosives in some of the most complicated shots ever committed to film. But it is also notable for its experiments with point of view, long tracking shots, and complex mise-en-scene, centered on the figure of the director himself, who, as Tolstoy’s main character Pierre Bezukhov, wanders through the scene in a white top hat and spectacles, marveling at what he is filming. To mark the 200th anniversary of Russia’s confrontation with Napoleon’s Grand Army, we will watch Part III of Bondarchuk’s film, the majority of which is devoted to the battle, and which (like the film’s other segments) appeared on Soviet screens as a separate release. The battle achieves its own climactic ending, and will leave us with plenty to talk about.

(Sergei Bondarchuk, USSR, 1967, DVD, 77min, in Russian with English subtitles)

A Slavic Colloquium event, sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures & CEERES.