“You are never, ever, going to see anything to equal it … as spectacular as a movie can possibly be.” That’s Roger Ebert, referring to Sergei Bondarchuk’s mammoth 7-hour epic Voyna i mir / War and Peace (1967), which won numerous accolades, including the best foreign-language film Oscar in 1968. (A six-hour, dubbed version was released in the United States at about that time.)
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (website) will be presenting several screenings of War and Peace in two parts, in two consecutive evenings beginning tomorrow, June 6. The final screening will take place on June 21. (See below.)
Bondarchuk’s adaptation (with Vasili Solovyov) of Leo Tolstoy’s sprawling (and more than a tad inconsistent) novel – about the suffering and bravery of the Russian nobility during the Napoleonic Wars – was shot on 70mm, featured 100,000 extras, and reportedly cost the equivalent of US$700 million. (I’m not sure if this is an exaggeration.) The film stars Lyudmila Savelyeva (as Natasha), Vyacheslav Tikhonov (as Prince Andrei), and Bondarchuk himself as the doltish Pierre Bezukhov.
War and Peace also won best foreign-language film honors from the Hollywood Foreign Press (that’s the Golden Globes), the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Board of Review.
LACMA will be presenting the original version in Russian with English subtitles and Dolby digital sound. Courtesy of Seagull Films.
Tickets: $15 general admission for parts 1–4, consecutive Fridays/Saturdays only; $10 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID for parts 1-4, consecutive Fridays/Saturdays only.
June 6 7:30 PM War and Peace – Parts 1 & 2
June 7 7:30 PM War and Peace – Parts 3 & 4
June 13 7:30 PM War and Peace – Parts 1 & 2
June 14 7:30 PM War and Peace – Parts 3 & 4
June 20 7:30 PM War and Peace – Parts 1 & 2
June 21 7:30 PM War and Peace – Parts 3 & 4