1 Sep 2016

A new adaptation of the world famous novel about love arouses great interest around the world promising a huge international audience for the upcoming film.

This tragic love story, written by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in the late nineteenth century, is well known not only in Russia. Filmed more than thirty times, "Anna Karenina" is one of the most popular novels of Russian literature.

The new interpretation strikes with its unique synthesis. The film director closely follows the original text down to all the dialogues and visual details. Alongside, to complement and continue the story, there are episodes which are not penned from the classic like a meeting between Sergei Karenin, a military doctor, and Alexei Vronsky, a middle-aged colonel. The two of them meet each other in Manchuria, in the days of the Russo-Japanese War. A communion with the son of his beloved makes Vronsky relive the events of 30 years ago and realize that Anna's passion has been the main value of his whole life. The ending of the film promises to be unexpected and extremely elegant; the famous scene of the death of Anna under the wheels of a train wont be typically grim. The originality of the forthcoming "Anna Karenina" can be found in its unusual plot concept, where the action develops in two different times and spaces in parallel. The secular atmosphere of both Saint-Petersburg and Moscow in the late 19th century with its brilliant balls, elegant horseraces and rich interiors of luxury mansions contrasts a lot with rather simple and sparse lifestyle of military nestled in the harsh steppes of Asia in the very midst of the bloody war.

A fresh look at the great novel causes extremely high interest, which was already confirmed by the International Content Market MIPTV in April 2016. This is not surprising because "Anna Karenina", as a fruit of creativity of the prominent master, satisfies all the requirements of a commercially successful product. The main factors of success are: exciting plot, brilliant cast, outstanding director, and substantial budget.

The famous Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov has approached the adaptation with extreme dedication, which is a characteristic of "big" movies. Director, producer, screenwriter, teacher and People's Artist of Russia, Karen Shakhnazarov is a well-known classic of world cinema, the participant and winner of international film festivals, the author of a half dozen movies which have been memorable and beloved among millions of viewers. He combines director's work with the leadership of one of the largest film studios in Europe Mosfilm for almost twenty years. Under his guidance, a huge project on the reconstruction of the studio has been conducted. Mosfilm received the newest filming equipment to meet the highest demands of todays film industry.

The casting for the film has been conducted carefully. Due to the directors concept, the actors have become full-fledged co-authors of their characters. The main roles of the lovers, Anna Karenina and Alexei Vronsky, were played by Elizaveta Boyarskaya and Maksim Matveyev. Though they are beautiful and young, they both are highly experienced in film and theater. The Russian public has been fond of those two bright actors for a pretty long time.

In Boyarskayas performance, Anna Karenina appears to be a woman of emotional and controversial nature. Her severity and restraint sharply give way to impulsive behavior caused by unexpected and disastrous feelings. Vronsky is portrayed by Matveyev not as a young playboy, but as a quite simple military man who has been suddenly changed by love. Alexei Karenin by Vitaly Kishchenko, who represents the classical Russian school of acting, has become a true victory for both actor and director. In contrast to the expressive acting of Boyarskaya and Matveyev, Kishchenko uses strong charisma and inner emotional strength to show Karenin as the man of honor and duty; though he goes through an extremely painful family tragedy, he manages to restrain his feelings. Such an impressive performance allows the viewers to sincerely sympathize with Alexei Karenin, who turns out to be a victim of the romantic drama.

The quality of the drama, the fame of the literary source, and the scale of production are the main competitive advantages of the project.

Historical romantic drama is the most popular and the hottest genre in modern television: complex relationships between characters, exciting plot and intensity of emotions attract audiences around the world. People of different generations and nationalities have empathized with the characters of this fatal love triangle for decades: the aristocrat Anna falls in love with the charming count Alexei Vronsky, and thereby betrays her husband unloved, austere, but honest and noble man. Anna is unable to resist such a bright, passionate and sincere feeling, though it conflicts with her principles of life, the laws of high society, and the manners of aristocrats. Adultery and the mark of a cheater is an unbearable burden which doesnt allow her to enjoy the desired happiness with her beloved.

This dramatic love story is embodied in the new film adaptation on an unprecedented scale the huge budget is visible in every frame. Expensive shooting took place in Moscow, Yasnaya Polyana (Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy) and in the Crimea. Viewers will be impressed by the immensity and beauty of the ball scene, where the lovers meet: two hundred ladies and gentlemen, who wear sumptuous costumes created on the basis of sketches from the nineteenth century, dance on the floors waxed to a mirror finish, under specially made crystal chandeliers, which radiate the warm glow of hundreds of candles. Such meticulous attention to details allowed creators to capture the unique atmosphere of a bygone era. Expressive episodes of the horserace provide an incredible experience allowing the audience to enjoy the beauty of the costumes, the grace of racehorses, and the expressive performances demonstrated by the actors in complex psychological scenes for example, in the one when Vronsky falls from his horse, and Anna is unable to hide her concern for the loved one neither from her spouse nor from secular society.

The city for filming exterior scenes, filled with well-prepared extras dressed in historical costumes, was built at Mosfilm. The scenes of long passages undertaken by the characters through the lanes and streets bustling with everyday life allow viewers to immerse themselves fully in the atmosphere of the 19th-century life. The interiors impress with a great amount of elegant and vivid detail: everything, from a small piece of jewelers the heroine wears to a huge panel and furniture in her husband's study, is selected with a rare thoroughness. Many household items involved in the filming are real antiques. The ladies and gentlemens clothes were created with a special love, and its hard to count the number of dresses in which Anna Karenina appears onscreen.

Splendor and beauty are highlighted with delicate camera work by Alexander Kuznetsov: he rejected the overuse of modern techniques and active camera movements in favor of soft zooms and long panoramas the components of a discreet manner, which saves the visual style of the film from artificiality and excessive pomposity.

"Anna Karenina" is certainly a unique project which has became a significant event even before its release. The TV Series (844 min.) will be completed in autumn 2016. MIPCOM participants can obtain additional information and learn more about the project at the Russias Television and Radio booth R7.E1

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