Mar. 20, 2013 - Issue #909: Water Crisis
There's some stodginess to all this (as in the wooden ranks-breaking scene near the front) and too much melodrama (warning to your liver if you play a vodka drinking-game for every scene where a character's eyes glisten). But Lean takes his time to build a seemingly high-browed, novelistic, intimate pace out of the era's seething political fervour (compare today's Les Misérables, which never sits still in its efforts to lash at every emotion under the revolutionary flag). While Pasternak's novel was critical of the October Revolution, this Western production threatens to reduce Bolsheviks to semi-humans bent on imposing humourlessness on all of Russia. But there's much to be said—more so in 1965, at the height of the Cold War—for the film's sly immersion, through fraught romance, of its viewers in a snowbound, poverty-stricken, striving-for-progress Soviet Union. Doctor Zhivago gives a rather bold, broad (sometimes too broad) context for the century's greatest, most brutal and self-imploding failure at the Communist experiment. It ends up being entertaining, if not always nuanced or thoughtful, political history.
Wed, Mar 27 (7 pm)
Directed by David Lean
Metro Cinema at the Garneau
Originally released: 1965
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