Monday, January 25, 2016

BBC's War & Peace



The BBC has descended in force, breathing new life into War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy’s sweeping story of Russian society during the beginning of the 19th century. War and Peace follows Natasha as one of the great literary heroines. A journey through the eyes and the soul of an impulsive, wide-eyed teenager, through love, loss, heartbreak and the deepest of sorrow, to wisdom and contentment. Lily James plays Natasha Rostova, the bewitching young countess... Natasha loves, and is loved by, many of the other characters, her family as well as a number of eligible young men. On her character Lily had this to say: "I had a lot of time to read the book and totally fell in love with Natasha. She's got such spirit, such soul, and feels things so intensely and extravagantly. At times I can be like her. There's a description of her first ball at her dancing teacher's house and it says she falls in love with every person in the room. She's so open to the world and her heart is so big. I think I fell in love with everyone when I was growing up too, and my friends say I do fall in love really easily."  The BBC team was granted unprecedented access to film the young Countess Rostova’s first real ball in Empress Catherine’s palace. "That’s where the Tsar’s ball actually happened. Being in that room with a Russian orchestra playing the music... those are some of the most breathtaking moments I've had filming. They made my hair stand on end." 
 

If you have time this weekend, start watching the epic series. Though I was a little disappointed at first, I quickly recovered and fell really hard for James Norton's Andrei Bolkonsky. What I love about the novel is there is no hero and no heroine. It's is the story of a group of people living within a society. Andrei Bolkonsky is not Tolstoy's hero, and Natasha is not a romantic heroine. Don't expect to be able to predict what happens. Even the characters won't be able to explain why they do what they do, perhaps until weeks or months later. The subject of the book is the wildness of possibility, and how the world can be changed by one woman saying, for no particular reason that she can explain,  "I have had so little happiness in my life."

So on that note, I leave you with a quote from War and Peace: "All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love..."  

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