Saturday, June 15, 2013

Vertical viewing—Anna Karenina

Choo Choooo! Anna was a baaaaad wife. I've seen several film adaptations of Leo Tolstoy's classic masterpiece, Anna Karenina, but the latest one I saw was the most creative yet. Director Joe Wright, best known for his Atonement and Pride & Prejudice films (I happen to love both films.), blew me away with his unusual take on the film. The style is probably not for everyone, but I thought it was absolute genius. The film is so very, very beautifully shot, sublime in fact, and is part film, part theater and stage. It's as if he and Baz Luhrmann of Moulin Rouge fame got together for drinks and came up with this concept. Some of Wright's trademarks are long, continuous shots, often during a dance or a ball, and his shots of character's hands that portray sexual tension are pretty amazing too. But I digress. The Greta Garbo version is quite lovely, and some recent PBS adaptations are very well done too. Oblonsky, Tverskoy, Anna & Count Vronsky, Levin & Kitty, and dear, loving, patient Karenin. He really was a good sport for a while there.

“All happy families are alike; 
each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” 

Anna Karenina

the 1935 version with Greta Garbo and Frederic March
the 1948 version with Vivian Leigh and Ralph Richardson 
the 1985 version with Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean
the 1997 version with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer
the 2012 version with Kiera Knightly and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

*Vertical viewing defined by me—In wine tasting, there is a term called vertical tasting—sampling one wine varietal from the same producer from several vintages. So I call it Vertical Viewing when I watch and compare several different versions of films. It's great to really get into the storyline and compare the acting and the strengths and weaknesses of each film.

Click on "vertical viewing" label below for other vertical viewing suggestions!
Or click to read my vertical viewing posts of Emma, A Christmas CarolCyrano de Bergerac and Shakespeare's Tempest!

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