Monday, October 6, 2008

They Did Not Expect Him, Ilya Repin

When I was looking for dance scenes to post in the days leading up
to our big event last week, I stumbled onto this lovely montage from
the film Onegin. It's been a while since I've posted a movie review
and I must prove worthy of my stylish and elegant film lover award!
I had forgotten how marvelous it is and had to dust off my copy and
pop it in! An adaptation of Pushkin’s poem Eugene Onegin, it is a
melancholy tale of lost love, complete with a tragic duel scene, as well
as a magnificent royal party. Martha Fiennes has outdone herself,
masterfully directing this sumptuous time period piece. Yes, she is
the sister of Ralph, who delivers his usual “less is more” performance
as Onegin. Toby Stephens (did you know that he is the son of Maggie
Smith?) is absolutely delicious as the sensitive Vladimir. And Liv
Tyler is breathtaking and perfectly cast as Tatyana. She has that
wonderful "otherworldly" look that adds to the haunting beauty of
this film. I strongly recommend this to anyone who appreciates the
raw beauty and irony found in most Russian Literature. I would also
love to see the opera Eugene Onegin starring the fabulous baritone
Dmitri Hvorostovsky! Maybe Netflix has it?
Nanya: You can't change your fate.
Tatyana Larina: Why not?


  1. As always a winner of a post, Willow. Apologies for being scarce .. sometimes I get so bogged down at the office I cant do much more than reply to comments via email ...


  2. That first picture is one that I could just walk into, it is so real.

  3. How have I missed seeing this film? Looks like I need to sign up for Netflix again.

    I love the painting, too.

  4. Very nice picture Willow...
    And good story...

    You have always good posts...

  5. I am intrigued... I enjoyed that clip very much. The costumes and cinematography are exquisite. Liv Tyler is always a favorite. Thanks for the review!

  6. I loved this movie! Our library has it but I haven't checked Netflix yet..Thanks for the reminder and the Youtube clip...

  7. Oh Willow, you cannot know how much I love this story, the ballet, the opera and the film! So many ways to enjoy this wonderful tale and so little time! I have experienced all four and it never fails to break my heart, in the best possible way. Sigh... Thanks for this wonderful post to make me think on it some more. :)

  8. A must see, but it will take some research, as I am sure it was not released here. The English are so good at being Russian!

  9. Liv always looks so good on the big screen. :)

    Russian literature?
    You bet.
    My blog title is a variation of sorts from Turgenev's masterful A Hunter's Sketches.

  10. Oh my goodness, you crtainly have excelled yourself with this one.
    That speaks to my very soul...

  11. I loved that movie. I had it saved to TIVO for a month and finally watched it. I was so glad I did. It was a feast in every day. Liv Tyler as usual was mesmerizing. I saw her in a movie just this week. It was sort of a low brow movie, I suppose, compared to some of your great choices, but she was funny in it. I can't recall the name...three days later! Matt Dillon was also in it as was Michael Douglas.

  12. Have not seen the movie but I will try to this weekend.
    Great post! I admire imperfections, Dostoevsky, Checov, Tolstoy
    Pushkin House library is on my list of places to visit next time I am in London.

  13. There's a wonderful opera by Tschikovsky based on this story.

  14. wow - one has to keep up over here - I no sooner saw a beautiful paper boat banner, it seems just moments ago, and it was replaced by a lovely flower banner, and now a beautiful back of a woman - I'm trying, but me thinks I'm too slow.

  15. Your blog is rich with beauty. I love coming here. Your layout, choice of color and pictures, it's just divine.

  16. Putting this one on my Netflix list right now. And I love that painting. Where do you find these things?

  17. Such a marvelous painting. And I must remember to put that movie in my Netflix queue.

  18. I had seen the trailers of Liv Tyler skating in that fabulous outfit, but I haven't seen this--thanks for the critique of it. It looks good! I meant to compliment your last banner, and it's gone now, but I'm loving the new one, too! ;))

  19. Interesting topics could give you more visitors to your site. So Keep up the good work.

  20. Toby Stephens is indeed delicious! I love the period style pictures on your blog.

    CJ xx

  21. I remember when it came out here in the UK, I was intent on going see it but alas, time and family commitments as usual put paid to that fancy notion. I have not seen new releases for a long time and have been delving in my video box (yes, videos, still in the era of DVDs!) quite often lately. You are absolutely right that Ralph is a 'less is more' type of actor in which category I would include Glenn Close (final scene of 'Dangerous Liaisons' is a masterclass in acting), Daniel Day Lewis ('In the Name of the Father') and Ralph himself ('Schindler's List'). John Malkovich has always been a favourite of mine, especially in 'Death of a Salesman' and 'In the Line of Fire' (his dialogue with Clint is one of my top ten favourite scenes ever). This movie, 'Onegin', is one of the few ones where the 'American factor' does not intrude (watch 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' for that) and although I have not seen it, the scenes I have make think that Martha tried to maintain at al costs the cold, grim atmosphere that characterises a lot of Russian literature.

    Agree with daryl, a winner of a post.

    Greetings from London.

  22. Did I miss that new banner yesterday? I like it. It's a little mysterious.

  23. I loved this film too... and remember the wonderful cold foggy silhouettyness of it...
    Hope you are well Willow :)
    Rima x

  24. Wow, beautiful. I haven't seen it, but I will.

    Love the painting. I'm inspired to go walk down to the National Gallery and have a look at some gorgeousness.


  25. Somehow I have missed this film! I appreciate Toby Stephens as an actor (who couldn't ;o), but this one I have not seen...Must remedy soon...Thanks for this post. You always share something intriguing and beguiling. Love the Hammershoi detail in your new banner. Happy Days :o)

  26. Tracy I am thrilled that you recognized the banner as being a detail from Hammershoi! Don't you love his work?

  27. Hi I am new to your blog but really enjoyed reading it.

  28. I don't know if it's just me, but what stood out for me with the Fiennes film was the sublime photography that resembled a Caspar David Friedrich painting. Specifically, his silhouetted men.
    Consider the scenes of Fiennes' dark form against the snow walking away from us.
    Don't you think?

  29. Beautiful, thank you! :-)

    I am going to see John Cranko`s "Onegin" ballet at the Vienna opera this coming November. If you follow
    this link, then click on the picture, you can watch a scene from the ballet.

  30. Mon, yes! Another one that immediately came to mind is Sir Henry Raeburn's "The Reverend Robert Walker Skating".

    Anyone who loves art will appreciate the rich beauty of this film.

  31. Merisi, I am totally green with envy! You lucky girl! Thanks for the link. It's absolutely gorgeous!! The subject matter makes for great opera/ballet/film.

  32. Time to visit Netflix. Thank you so much for posting such a wonderful, thought-filled review. I got so excited when I read your profile after discovering you at Tangobaby. Your list of favorite pursuits and mine are quite similar. Anyway, it's nice to meet you. I'm off now to add Onegin to my Netflix queue.

  33. Thank you! I am always thrilled to meet kindred spirits. Now I'm off to pay you a little visit!

  34. I LOVE that movie! I remember when it came out to rent and I just fell in love with the story. I'm going to have to re-watch that. Great post!

  35. This is exactly the sort of respite I needed today...even not being able to hear it with sound (being at work), I was transfixed.

    I simply must own a copy of this film!

  36. that is quite the enchanting video.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)