War And Peace on TV

Lev_Tolstoj_2 guerra_e_pace

Despite is not its anniversary, as far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong) – even if last year it was Waterloo‘s anniversary – War And Peace is in auge again these days.

BBC One aired a brand new mini-series starring British actors Lily James, James Norton, Jack Lowden and the American Paul Dano who, according to the comments I read on Twitter, took the hearts of several people with his performance as Pierre Bezukhov. I’ve recorded all the six episodes and I’m going to watch it as soon as I finish Dickensian. Would be cool if it comes to Italian TV!

In Italy, these days  they aired the 1966 Russian long movie Voyna i mir on three consecutive Mondays, but, since I found a very cheap DVD ages ago, I lent it to my dad so that he watched it without adv.

I took a look and I found the Russian version stunning and poetic. It got a wonderful photography. All those trees and landscapes are gorgeous, not talking about the scenography! And the story is full of intimate monologues the characters make in their mind, wondering about the meaning of life, love and the world around them.

When it came out on big screen here, they showed a cut version, so the full movie on DVD got subtitles in some scene that weren’t dubbed in Italian. That’s not all bad, it’s good to listen to the real voices of the actors. The DVD got also the original Russian audio and some extras on the making of. Amazing, thinking about the time the movie was filmed!

According to my dad, the Russian it’s a faithful version of the Lev Tolstoj‘s novel he’s currently re-reading. He didn’t like the cast of the more famous 1956 US movie, but Audrey Hepburn‘s performance as Natasha Rostova, who, in his opinion, was better than Lyudmila Saveleva‘s performance (who I found delicious anyway). But Sergey Bondarchuk, who played Pierre Bezukhov and was also the director, was the better casting as he’s exactly how he’s described in the book.

I wonder if the British series gives justice to Tolstoj’s masterpiece. I should really read the novel myself!

At the same time, the Italian newspaper La Stampa, on Monday 7 February published an article that talked about Lev Tolstoj visiting Torino on June 1857. The writer was touring Europe, looking for politics models and ideas for his novel. He loved Paris, despite he didn’t like how the power was used, the misery around him, and had to assit to a sentence to the guillotine that disgusted him. Visited Geneva to pay homage to his beloved Russeau and then went to Turin. He liked the enthusiasm of the students at the Uni, so full of life and free. He visited museums and went to gigs. But, being mostly interested in politics, joined a Parliament session and he also saw a young Count of Cavour talking in an assembly and he could have taken inspiration from him for the character of Pierre Bezukhov who, in the Russian miniseries, looks a lot like him. But that’s just an hypothesis the historian Roberto Coaloa made.

So I suppose Henry Fonda was a miscast, I stil haven’t seen the US movie! I’m curious to see how Paul Dano played Pierre.

There were several version of War And Peace since it was written, also an Italian Guerra E Pace miniseries in 2007, starring a variegated European cast: Clémence Poésy, Alessio Boni, Malcolm McDowell and the German Alexander Beyer (Tobias Tischbier in Deutschland 83) who played Pierre, and I bet there will be many others in the future, until the novel takes people’s heart and imagination.

I left people choosing which version is the best one!