Monday, 7 February 2011

Andrei Kravchuk: The Admiral - Адмиралъ (2008)

Director: Andrei Kravchuk
Screenplay: Zoia Kudria, Vladimir Valutskii
Cinematography: Igor’ Griniakin, Aleksei Rodionov
Editor: Tom Rolfe
Design: Sergei Musin
Sound: Kirill Bodrov
Music: Gleb Matveichuk
Cast: Konstantin Khabenskii, Elizaveta Boiarskaia, Sergei Bezrukov, Vladislav Vetrov, Anna Kovalchuk, Mikhail Smirnov, Richard Bohringer, Aleksandr Kliuvkin
Producers: Dzhanik Faiziev, Anatolii Maksimov, Dmitrii Iurkov
Production: Film Direction, Dago Productions, Channel One, with the support of the State Agency for Culture and Cinema

But if I am still alive
Counter to destiny
That's only as your love
And memory of you
Ana Timireva

"Your smile that I will never forget, your voice, your hands are the symbol of the highest award for me which can give me life for performance of the greatest aim, military idea, debt and the obligations sent by the severe and unshakable nature of war..." These words full of love, emotions and fear to lose his beloved woman were written by Admiral Kolchak to Anna Timireva. She was a married woman with a son, he had wife and son too. Anna was younger than Admiral in 19 years but love does not have borders and they both understood it. He wasn't the handsomest of men and besides he was a soldier and patriot dedicated to the army and to the country. But she was the real princess: young, clever and gorgeous. They seemed to be just ordinary people but their amazing love story and tragic destiny made them legends.

"Admiral" is that type of movies that you watch on one breath and when it ends you don't need to speak with your friends and share your thoughts about the film. It is something extraordinary that you keep deep inside your heart. You are nearly crying as if it was your own life and your sufferings. This is the power of that movie. First of all, you will be impressed with the actors' transformation. Konstantyn Habensky as Admiral Kolchak is exactly the man from that epoch. Fearless, brave and strong person with so many contradictions that finally led him to his death. Habensky has previously worked with Elizaveta Boyarskaya in "Irony of Fate 2" but in this picture they are more natural and real as a duet.

Historical dramas are for sure one of the most hardest genre. The duty of actors is to make audience believe that you are that Man or that Woman from specific century and era. In "Admiral" Elizaaveta Boyarskaya did a fantastic job. She did a hundred times better than she did in "Irony of Fate" Maybe it's because "Irony" was just a sequel of the famous Soviet film. But Anna in "Admiral" is definitely her role that she played with fidelity and grace.

I also want to say few words about the music. The original score is fantastic. And the title song "Anna" which was a poem written by Anna Timireva and dedicated to Kolchak sounds so touching. Just listen to it and you will understand how strong this woman were. Singer Victoria Dayneko performed it perfectly and her voice is amazing.

Admiral was killed in February 7, 1920. Anna Timireva spent most of her life in prisons and camps. She died in 1975. As she said she had been with Admiral only for two years. But she never stopped loving him even after his death.

Reviewed by Denise J. Youngblood © 2009 in KinoKultura

Andrei Kravchuk, who made the charming, intimate The Italian (Italianets, 2005), was not an obvious choice to direct an ambitious romantic melodrama about Admiral Aleksandr Vasil’evich Kolchak (1874-1920), Russian World War I hero and self-styled Supreme Commander of Siberia during the Russian Civil War. Kravchuk’s success can be seen in the box office figures—over $33 million in Russia alone—and in the spirited debate the film aroused. Liberal Russian critics and historians have taken umbrage at this full-scale rehabilitation of one of the White Army’s most controversial commanders, while conservative critics have praised its message of honor, patriotism, and religious devotion, and the triumph of love over all catastrophes.

The Admiral is an exceedingly well-made historical epic in the tradition of Dr. Zhivago, another film to glamorize resistance to the Bolsheviks. It is beautifully filmed in painterly tableaux alternating with first-rate action sequences. No expense was spared on this gorgeous production; at a reported cost of $20 million, it is among the most expensive Russian films to date. It foregrounds the doomed romance of Kolchak and Anna Timireva (the wife of his friend and subordinate) and privileges drama over historical objectivity. The brouhaha over The Admiral raises the question: to what extent is the maker of historical films bound by the same rules of fairness and objectivity as the historian?

It is not that the film is factually inaccurate. Indeed, Kravchuk and his scriptwriters Zoia Kudria and Vladimir Valutskii have researched the last four years of Kolchak’s life (1916-20) with care.[1] He was a gentleman in private life, honest, upright, disciplined. He was a believer who insisted upon regular prayer to bolster the morale of his troops. (God is on our side.) He was a naval hero during the Great War, a man to whom patriotic Russians could point with pride. Despite his unprepossessing physical appearance, he had the kind of personal magnetism that attracted beautiful women and willing followers to his side. ...

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