Film Liveblogging War and Peace
posted by December 11 at 14:22 PMon
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.