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Boris Godounov 1989

  • Andrzej Żuławski
  • December 20, 1989
  • 115 mins
  • Russian
  • Music, Drama
Zulawski tackles Modest Mussorgsky’s famous opera about the bloody battle for ascendancy to the throne of Russia in the 17th-century! With a score conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, Zulawski adds extra layers of devilish meta-textual embellishment by composing the film’s imagery as though we are watching a theater piece of a film crew making a movie about the opera of “Boris Godounov”! As well, the picture is full of delightful anachronisms that mock the then-contemporary Russian government, alongside jabs at other 20th-century dictatorships. So incensed was Rostropovich by Zulawski’s juiced final product — one that took liberties with the narrative’s sexual thrust, amongst other things — that he (unsucessfully) took Zulawski to court for “the violation of the Russian soul”! “Impressive in its use of whirling camera movements as well as mega close-ups of the contracted faces of its singers, ‘Boris Godounov’ is one of the most original opera movies ever made”

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