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A Whirlwind of Passion and Tragedy: Film Forum Presents Anna Karenina

Joe Wright's theatrical adaptation of Tolstoy's opus is like nothing you've seen before.

Columnist

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 01:02

This Thursday, Feb. 7 and Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m., the Saratoga Film Forum will present the epic drama "Anna Karenina," based on Leo Tolstoy's great Russian novel.

Joe Wright's theatrical adaptation of Tolstory's opus begins with Anna's journey to Moscow to help save her brother's marriage. The wife of Count Karenin (an imperious Jude Law), and the mother of two children, Anna (Keira Knightley) hopes to advise the genial Oblansky (Matthew Macfadyen) against his compulsive adultery and betrayal of his wife, Dolly (Kelly MacDonald). However,Anna’s life is turned upside down when she meets the charismatic Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and falls hopelessly in love. The affair becomes the scandal of Moscow high society, and when Karenin discovers the infidelity, his unrelenting rage and scorn torments Anna, culminating in a dramatic finale.

Unlike other film and theatrical renditions of "Anna Karenina," Wright beguiles the moviegoer with much more than a love triangle. His vision, sharpened by Tom Stoppard's screenplay, depicts many scenes in an old Russian playhouse, and he lavishes attention on Tolstoy's peripheral and often extravagant characters. Wright pays close attention to Anna's in-law Kitty (Alicia Vikander), once herself besotted with Vronsky, and to Kitty's slow-growing romance with a country landlord, Levin (Domhnall Gleeson from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”). The swift set transitions on the playhouse stage, which transform it from government hall to office to bedroom suite to horse track in the blink of an eye, work their own kind of magic, too.

As if the glittering magic of Wright’s depiction of Anna’s tragic story isn’t enticing enough, History, English, and Art majors alike should be compelled to see this screening. Admission with Student ID is $5.

 

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