Wednesday, August 12, 2015

TWO WOMEN: Beautiful Russian Film: Review by Polly Guerin

If you are an aficionado of classic films you can expect to see an intensely beautiful film, TWO WOMEN, sometime in the foreseeable future, as the release date might be sometime this fall.  This update on the film provides a preview report that ought to resonate with your interest.  
The film presents a cast of mostly international Russian actors from France and Germany with Academy Award®-nominated British actor Ralph Fiennes in his first-time appearance in a Russian-language film. A consummate perfectionist, in order to speak Russian, Fiennes immersed himself in studying the Russian language and its customs.  
            Director Vera Glagoleva has brought to the screen a tale of love based on a classic work from Russian literature, Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country.” Tugenev’s play is considered a pioneering work of literary naturalism, and Glagoleva captures the spirit of the work guiding her stellar cast to a range of rich, complex performances.
Natalya Petrovna and Rakitin (Ralph Fiennes)
The result is a character-driven work that builds on the unfathomable emotion of love and that kind of magic that eludes most of us. The result is a character-driven work that builds to a range of rich, complex performances.
Action of the film happens within three days in the 1840s in the rich countryside estate of Russian landowner Arkadi Sergeyevich Islayev (Aleksandr Baluev) and his wife Natalya Petrovna (Anna Astrakhantseva). In this bucolic setting with middle age advancing Natalya welcomes the attentions of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Rakitin (Ralph Fiennes) as her devoted but resentful admirer, without ever letting their friendship develop into a love affair As Fiennes puts it, “I was drawn to the character of Rakitin, a sophisticated man, I believe, carrying many of the qualities of Turgenev himself. He is sensitive, and inside he carries deep emotions.”
            Life seemingly goes on with peacefully terms of refinement, but suddenly it is interrupted and the quiet lives of the inhabitants of the house are dramatically changed. The arrival of the handsome 21-yer old student Aleksei Belyaev (Nikita Volkov) as tutor to her son Kolya ends Natalya’s boredom
Verochka (Anna Levanova)
She falls in love with Aleksei, but so does her ward Verochka (Anna Levanova), the Islayev’s 17-year-old foster daughter.  The gentle friendship between Natalia and her foster daughter Verochka unexpectedly passes into jealousy and rivalry.  To rid herself of her rival, Natalya pressures Verochka into marrying a rich old neighbor. What follows: longtime friend Rakitin discovers some changes deep inside Natalya Petrovna and can’t keep apart from it as he is secretly in love with her. Misunderstandings arise when the husband of Natalya, Arkadi begins to have his suspicions and the film unravels with an ambiguous ending.
The United States premiere screening of Vera Glagoleva's Two Women was presented by The Russian American Foundation as part of the 13th Annual Russian Heritage Month. . Contact: for further information.
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