Friday, 10 June 2011

Alexander Faintsimmer: Gadfly - Овод (1955)

Director: Alexander Faintsimmer
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Actors: Oleg Strizhenov, Marianne (Marina) Strizhenova, Nikolai Simonov, Vladimir Etush, Simon Svashenko Paul Usovnichenko,

Ethel Lillian Voynich Boole is the author of the novel "Gadfly" which was enormously popular in the Soviet Union. The Russians even named a crater of the Venus planet after it.

The novel set in Italy in the 1800's, which was a time of revolt and uprisings and features the hero as a mysterious satirist who is only known by his pseudonym Gadfly. At once a romance, tragedy and heroic story, it's got passionate characters, dark secrets, betrayal and atonement, and expertly incorporates them into the author's controversial theme - the criticism of the church.

The movie was a great success, partly due to the charisma of young Oleg Strizenov in his screen debut. He was very convincing as romantic and tragic Arthur as he moves from being a theological student with Padre Montanelli (his father figure - powerful performance by Nikolai Simonov) to the life of a satirist, revolutionary, and great enemy of the church. The best Soviet actors played in the movie; the novel was adapted into the screenplay by very famous (and deservingly so) writer, Victor Shklovsky. But the real treasure of the film is the music written by Dmitry Shostakovich. He composed an orchestral suite for The Gadfly. ...

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