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also known as Ten Days in the Life of I.I. Oblomov

Oblomov1979

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  • 3.9
Nikita Mikhalkov (BURNT BY THE SUN) has a reputation as an actor's director, adroitly guiding his players through complex material and obtaining some of the finest performances in Soviet cinema. Nowhere is this more apparent than in OBLOMOV, his moving and authentic distillation of Ivan Goncharov's great 19th century tragi-comic novel. Oleg Tabakov brings to the title role a delicate dignity as the gentle aristocrat who would rather sleep than compete in a modern world of expanding industrialization (a character that is both lovable and ludicrous). As Olga, Elena Solovei invests with giddy charm her role of the delightful country belle with whom Oblomov has a brief springtime of passion. Set in glittery St. Petersburg during the heyday of the czars, OBLOMOV is also full of enchanting scenes of lush interiors and ravishing landscapes. The delicate story about friendship, family and daydreams becomes a warmly nostalgic portrait of Russia before the turn of the century.

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1 member likes this review

"5 Stars" seems arbitrary to me, for if I believe the film is worth seeing, I will give it a "5". The ability to rate this film between 2-4 fell on the editor of the film, who long ago finished this project. If a film gets a "1", I likely won't have sat through it to rate it. I will not say that I will never give a film anything other than a "5", but as of now, I don't comprehend this imposed rating system well enough to use it. I find it problematic that I cannot italicize the movie title within this text box; that encourages poor grammar. Movie titles are supposed to be underlined or italicized in APA format. How can I even reference the film's title without feeling dirty? I refuse to cite the movie title in this box because I wouldn't disgrace a film with such indelicate treatment in writing.

Despite this, I will say that both lovers of Russian history, or Russia in general, and fans of Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov, categories which overlap no-doubt, will find this movie worth watching. Unlike Mikhalkov's films depicting, first, himself as a former White Army general, and later, a member of a jury whose job it is to review the case of an alleged Chechnyan murderer, whose names will not be mentioned due to the aforementioned limited functions available in this text box, the film in question demonstrates the director's capacity for humor. Ilya Ilyich's early interactions with Zakhar, for example, truly made me laugh. I don't consider the film a "comedy", but it certainly has funny moments. The film was adapted from a novel with the same title, published in 1849 by Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov, and strays from the novel's plot slightly, but not thematically. Ivan Alexandrovich had, like Ilya Ilyich, a privileged upbringing, but was academically rigorous and spent his life, not only writing, but in government service as a translator. Stoltz and Ilya Ilyich seem to embody different elements of Ivan Alexandrovich's personal history, and certainly, of people in the author's world.

The cinematography, as with every other Mikhalkov film I have had the pleasure to see, expresses the beauty and mystery inherent in the Russian landscape and wilderness. As one of Mikhalkov's earliest full length films, the audience will see that the director has, from the beginning, had a strong talent for capturing the uniquely grotesque features of Russian life and culture.

The story, of course, does not have a "happy" or particularly "sad" or "surprising" ending; so, American audiences beware, you may find yourself as bored by the film as Ilya Ilyich is in the drawing rooms of the St. Petersburg bourgeoisie. Bored because, without context, I am not sure many of the details will register. But for the more discerning viewer, the viewer who detests Hollywood, or the historian, this is worth a glance.

Member Reviews (2)

It seems improbable that anyone today could write a story about a man who would be dismissed as a chronic depressive and convey the message that this fellow somehow embodies a wisdom about life that we should share . The story of Oblomov, riven of its 19th century political message when it it was first published, must be difficult to translate to the screen without presenting him as a pathetic buffoon leading a life of inexplicable, irritating indolence, especially in the eyes of our marathoning world. Yet this is a subtle, beautiful and altogether quite wonderful film. I was moved by his essential honesty in the face of a world that compels you to be something you are not (even if his aristocratic psychology is extinct) , and by the tenderness of his mother which brought out the physical and emotional pleasure that a mother might take in her child and that came to define his basic response to life. The landscape photography is sumptuous. Nobody does summer like the Russians or make the landscape speak for the story.

1 member likes this review

Great review.

"5 Stars" seems arbitrary to me, for if I believe the film is worth seeing, I will give it a "5". The ability to rate this film between 2-4 fell on the editor of the film, who long ago finished this project. If a film gets a "1", I likely won't have sat through it to rate it. I will not say that I will never give a film anything other than a "5", but as of now, I don't comprehend this imposed rating system well enough to use it. I find it problematic that I cannot italicize the movie title within this text box; that encourages poor grammar. Movie titles are supposed to be underlined or italicized in APA format. How can I even reference the film's title without feeling dirty? I refuse to cite the movie title in this box because I wouldn't disgrace a film with such indelicate treatment in writing.

Despite this, I will say that both lovers of Russian history, or Russia in general, and fans of Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov, categories which overlap no-doubt, will find this movie worth watching. Unlike Mikhalkov's films depicting, first, himself as a former White Army general, and later, a member of a jury whose job it is to review the case of an alleged Chechnyan murderer, whose names will not be mentioned due to the aforementioned limited functions available in this text box, the film in question demonstrates the director's capacity for humor. Ilya Ilyich's early interactions with Zakhar, for example, truly made me laugh. I don't consider the film a "comedy", but it certainly has funny moments. The film was adapted from a novel with the same title, published in 1849 by Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov, and strays from the novel's plot slightly, but not thematically. Ivan Alexandrovich had, like Ilya Ilyich, a privileged upbringing, but was academically rigorous and spent his life, not only writing, but in government service as a translator. Stoltz and Ilya Ilyich seem to embody different elements of Ivan Alexandrovich's personal history, and certainly, of people in the author's world.

The cinematography, as with every other Mikhalkov film I have had the pleasure to see, expresses the beauty and mystery inherent in the Russian landscape and wilderness. As one of Mikhalkov's earliest full length films, the audience will see that the director has, from the beginning, had a strong talent for capturing the uniquely grotesque features of Russian life and culture.

The story, of course, does not have a "happy" or particularly "sad" or "surprising" ending; so, American audiences beware, you may find yourself as bored by the film as Ilya Ilyich is in the drawing rooms of the St. Petersburg bourgeoisie. Bored because, without context, I am not sure many of the details will register. But for the more discerning viewer, the viewer who detests Hollywood, or the historian, this is worth a glance.

1 member likes this review

I don't understand why aspects of Russian life and culture were described as "grotesque". To me the film focused on timeless human warmth, in an intimate but somehow detached way, like an antique landscape painting, of a world that we can still understand but feel estranged from. Like a book of poems left by chance on a table by an open window.