Thursday, January 9, 2014

Doctor Zhivago

I don't really feel that I can do justice to Doctor Zhivago, other than to say that it is the best of the 4 films I've watched so far as part of my challenge to myself to watch 5 classics.

The cinematography, as with Lawrence of Arabia, leaves me unimpressed though I am conscious of the historical context. It is the love story that moves me, and Zhivago gives me the insight into the title character that Lawrence was missing. I would have liked to see Zhivago complete his walk home from his mistress to return, at last, to his pregnant wife rather than being whisked away into his two-year adventure through Mongolia. I doubt Zhivago was the sort of man who could have kept his promise to disavow his mistress; he does not seem, to me, to be a strong enough man to deny himself the joys of a second life (which is, after all, exactly the sort of life poetry allows a writer- the chance to step away from the everyday and things as they are).

The story of displacement, of military and social conscription, was fantastic and probably deserves a longer meditation than I have time for today. It's the sort of story (like The Old Man and the Sea or American Pastoral) that I could see as a touchstone.

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