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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Liveblogging War and Peace

posted by on December 11 at 14:22 PM

The seven-hour Soviet War and Peace is in residence at SIFF Cinema for two whole weeks.


This film is long (seven hours long) not because the book on which it is based is long, but because the subject of its story is the state. And any story the state has to tell is going to be a very, very long one. War and Peace was not made by a director, a mere individual, but by the state itself: the USSR. The state made it in 1968, paid a fortune for its production (the critic Michael Atkinson claims that in today’s terms the movie would cost about $1 billion), called up hundreds of thousands of extras, and spent over a half a decade constructing a narrative of its power. Not glory, but state power. The cinema of glory is something like the Triumph of the Will, which is all pornography and no story. State power is not simply a matter of glory; it must be about years of suffering, about all levels of society, about its movement across the high and low terrain of history. In War and Peace, state power flows through society with a fluid camera. It flows into bedrooms, ballrooms, death chambers, battlefields, city streets at dusk, over the Neva, above the country and into the clouds. In this film, more than any other film in history, the power of the state is translated into the power of cinema. CHARLES MUDEDE

Jim Demetre has a good, concise post on War and Peace up on Artdish right now. (The discussion of Pride and Prejudice adaptations also ties into my Slog post from last week—guys, Austen is social satire: it’s OK to laugh.) But here at The Stranger, we believe excess should be met with excess.

So tomorrow, starting at 1 pm and going on for hours and hours, Charles Mudede will utilize the software formerly dedicated to trifles like politics and Project Runway to liveblog War and Peace. Be here or mock Tolstoy. At your peril.

RSS icon Comments


thank god that will be over by the time dan starts live blogging the next project runway. you had me worried.

Posted by Line Out Fan | December 11, 2007 2:24 PM

I just can't wait for you to liveblog all the deathly dull reality TV shows we'll be living with soon ...

Must. Not. Jump.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 11, 2007 2:46 PM

Did he lose a bet or something?

Posted by Clint | December 11, 2007 2:50 PM

the only thing worse than sitting through 7 hours of war and peace: 7 hours of mudede pontificating on the hegelian dialect that is war and peace, and anything else that comes to his mind.

Posted by lol | December 11, 2007 3:22 PM
Posted by Jude Fawley | December 11, 2007 3:27 PM

It's OK to laugh at Austen but not to giggle.

Posted by Jim Demetre | December 11, 2007 4:41 PM

In "Love and Death" Woody Allen's comedic masterpiece, "War and Peace" is distilled down to 85 minutes of brilliant satire, word play and japery. "Shall we share his letters?" "Yes, I'll take the consonants, you may have the vowels."

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | December 11, 2007 5:44 PM

The BBC 18 episode version with Anthony Hopkins kicks Bondarchuk's butt for getting the tone of Tolstoy's work and characters. I highly recommend it for lovers of the book War and Peace who find Bondarchuk's film irritating.

Posted by mirror | December 11, 2007 11:18 PM

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