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Anna KareninaNew film adaptation


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#31 Helene

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:13 AM

The Ratmansky excised most of the Kitty/Levin story -- the contrast would have been a very good ballet subject -- and muddled the Karenins' relationship. It did provide a lot of drama for Anna K., but it missed the domestication of her relationship with Vronsky. Philosophy is more out of place in narrative ballet than mothers-in-law.

I wish I had been able to stay in NYC for the Kondaurova Anna K, even though I didn't like the ballet much -- I saw it with Vishneva -- as well as the Somova "Little Humpbacked Horse," but, alas, I had to return mid-week.

#32 dirac

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:32 AM



I also wondered why the guests at the ball kept practicing the Hula Dance with their arms and hands.



I had the same thought, Natalia. (It also seemed to be the only dance anyone at the ball knew.) I thought perhaps the movie’s choreographer had researched some social dance I didn’t recognize, but evidently not.

#33 sandik

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

[size=4][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I thought perhaps the movie’s choreographer had researched some social dance I didn’t recognize, but evidently not.[/font][/size]


from the link above

"the waltz being a notoriously stiff and proper dance form."

Someone has not been doing much homework. The waltz was an incredibly scandalous dance when it was first debuted, in part because of the shared weight (Ruth Katz's essay in The Dance Anthology is a great resource) -- it would take a little finesse to make this clear in a film, but it's certainly not impossible. Take a look at the dance sequence in A Royal Affair to see an example -- they take a much tamer period in social dance (mid-18th c) and make the most of it.

#34 Birdsall

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

The Ratmansky excised most of the Kitty/Levin story -- the contrast would have been a very good ballet subject -- and muddled the Karenins' relationship. It did provide a lot of drama for Anna K., but it missed the domestication of her relationship with Vronsky. Philosophy is more out of place in narrative ballet than mothers-in-law.

I wish I had been able to stay in NYC for the Kondaurova Anna K, even though I didn't like the ballet much -- I saw it with Vishneva -- as well as the Somova "Little Humpbacked Horse," but, alas, I had to return mid-week.



I was trying to think how the ballet could have told the Levin story alongside Anna's and I think too much of his story is so philosophical and would not lend itself to dancing. I do think that a couple of short scenes with Kitty and Levin should have been attempted in the ballet. They simply disappeared. Levin is basically the opposite of Anna and is more like the actual main character in a way.

But I saw an operatic version of Anna Karenina in Miami several years ago and when I saw that I felt it tried to do too much. It tried to keep the Levin story in and as a result (in order to keep the opera fairly normal in length) you never felt you got to know the characters that well b/c it attempted to show scene after scene, and I never felt I knew the operatic Anna at all and had no feelings toward her (unlike in the book) and was so happy when she threw herself on the tracks b/c I knew it meant the opera was ending soon! LOL I think there was just one last scene with Levin and his family after that. I personally thought the opera tried to do too much and simply did not work at all.

So when I heard the Ratmansky ballet concentrated mainly on Anna I thought that made more sense in the theatre (since Levin is so difficult to keep in and keep a movie or opera or ballet a normal length), but I found Ratmansky's ballet fairly boring. There were a few interesting moments but too many boring moments and then it ended so suddenly. I think the music didn't help. I really wanted to like the ballet, b/c I love the novel. Maybe this is a story that really only works well as a novel.

#35 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:14 PM

I just went to see this. I'm surprised it did not disappointed me as I expected. The whole theatrical setting didn't bother me at all, although I could had been happier sans that fantasy of a waltz. Knightley was decent, if not wonderful. She had her moments and her "moments". Someone needs to get her to abandon her teeth-clenching cliché though. It gets too repetitive. Still, I definitely sympathized with her youthful Anna. Let's make note that Knightley is even two years Karenina's senior-(28 vs. 26). I loved Law as karenin-(he was for me the highlight of the film), and Vronsky was exactly as I had pictured him from the novel, at least physically, if not that emotionally vulnerable as he's portrayed in the film. Oh, and I would say they sort of overindulged in Knightley's dressing up game. Too much fashion show.

#36 abatt

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

I'm not sure if this article was previously posted. It is from the NY Times. The director, Joe Wright, says he conceives of Anna K. as a "ballet with words", and discusses at length the incorporation of choreography in the film. Enjoy.

http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all

#37 dirac

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

Let's make note that Knightley is even two years Karenina's senior-(28 vs. 26).


I don't think that's quite the case, cubanmiamiboy, but for me the issue was not so much Knightley's chronological age than the immaturity of the portrayal. Anna is in her late twenties, but that was older then than it is now. She's a settled married woman, with a child, who acts as the hostess for a prominent man and runs his house. She's the kind of woman that Oblonsky calls in as reinforcements when he's screwed up his marriage.

Take a look at the dance sequence in A Royal Affair to see an example -- they take a much tamer period in social dance (mid-18th c) and make the most of it.


Sorry I missed that movie. I don't think AK's choreographer would have tried the swami dance stuff in a film with a naturalistic setting, though.

#38 Natalia

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

The most beautiful and effective Anna K in ballet was the Mariinsky's first version, ca-1994, by Andre Prokovsky, to Tchaikovsky (cobbled score, a-la Cranko Onegin). Makhalina and Zaklinsky were magical -- most convincing Anna/Vronsky pair I've ever seen, in any medium. Lopatkina was exquisite as Kitty, a role that is more developed in the Prokovsky edition. Yevgeni Neff was Levin, with Ponomaryov as Karenin. The skaters' ballet in Act I was gorgeous. Lush, realistic sets/costumes, a 1,000 times better than what we saw with the Ratmansky. I am guessing that the Prokovsky production was a short-term rental because it should have stayed in the rep, it so fit the Mariinsky to a T.

p.s. The child in that production was Ivan Sitnikov, now a member of the MT corps de ballet and son of ex-ballerina Irina Sitnkova.

#39 Birdsall

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

I have heard about that version of the AK ballet. I have heard it was better than the Ratmansky version.

#40 sandik

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:39 PM

Let's make note that Knightley is even two years Karenina's senior-(28 vs. 26).


I don't think that's quite the case, cubanmiamiboy, but for me the issue was not so much Knightley's chronological age than the immaturity of the portrayal. Anna is in her late twenties, but that was older then than it is now. She's a settled married woman, with a child, who acts as the hostess for a prominent man and runs his house. She's the kind of woman that Oblonsky calls in as reinforcements when he's screwed up his marriage.


It's been awhile since I read the novel, but in my memory AK is more of an adult -- one who may have missed experiences in her life, but she's a grown up in a grown up world. Part of her reaction to Vronsky reminds me of the Marschalin in Rosenkavalier -- an unexpected last chance at romantic love.

#41 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:10 PM

It's been awhile since I read the novel, but in my memory AK is more of an adult -- one who may have missed experiences in her life, but she's a grown up in a grown up world.


It would have been interesting to see Vivien Leigh tackle the role around 1941 or so, with Olivier. She wasn't quite ready for it but she was a maturer performer than Knightley. There would have been no problem with romantic chemistry and the screen would likely have had its best Vronsky.The story would have been a bit too close to home, probably. (Leigh was married at 19 to an older man and had a daughter at 20; she left him for Olivier and it took years to push through the two divorces.)

Apollinaire Scherr digs the swami dance (note the following is not a direct quote from Scherr, but a quote of a quote):

The hands are free to undulate and unfurl like time-lapse vines winding up trellises and flowering. "The looseness of the wrist only suggests touch. The hands flow through one another like weaving. I wanted the waltz to be magical, and you know how when you cast a spell it is with the weaving of hands?"


Maybe, and there's no harm in experiment, but IMO you can still make magic with a plain waltz and the sexiness of the dance as described by sandik is not really that difficult to dramatize.

#42 abatt

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

This film does not seem to be getting much love in terms of nominations/year-end best of lists. No SAG nominations, no awards from various film critics associations, to my kjnowledge. I suspect it may get nominations for non-acting categories, like costumes.

#43 sandik

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

It would have been interesting to see Vivien Leigh tackle the role around 1941 or so, with Olivier. She wasn't quite ready for it but she was a maturer performer than Knightley. There would have been no problem with romantic chemistry and the screen would likely have had its best Vronsky.


Indeed, we missed out on this one!

Maybe, and there's no harm in experiment, but IMO you can still make magic with a plain waltz and the sexiness of the dance as described by sandik is not really that difficult to dramatize.


And since you mention Leigh, think of the ball scene in Gone with the Wind!

#44 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:42 PM

Another that comes to mind is the ball in the 1949 Madame Bovary with Jennifer Jones, where Vincente Minnelli's swirling camera and the rhythms of the waltz convey Emma's disturbance, plainly erotic in nature. (The movie as a whole is hopelessly overscaled in the MGM fancy manner but it's worth checking out.)

I suspect it may get nominations for non-acting categories, like costumes.


Very likely, abatt. I tend to agree with cubanmiamiboy that they went a bit overboard with Knightley's costuming, but a high-profile period picture tends to be a slam dunk for such nominations. I wouldn't be surprised if Law winds up with a nomination somewhere along the line. Box office will play a role there.

#45 abatt

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:37 AM

Here is an artcle on the costumes in this film, from the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.c...ef=awardsseason

In addition, there was a very interesting article in the Washington Post regarding the choreography in the film. It was in the Links section a few days ago.


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