|SAVE AND PROTECT (SPASI I SOKHRANI) (director: Aleksandr Sokurov; screenwriter: from the novel Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert/Yuriy Arabov; cinematographer: Sergey Yurizditskiy; editor: Leda Semyonova; music: Yuri Khanin; cast: Aleksandr Cherednik (Rodolphe), Cécile Zervudacki (Emma), Robert Vaaap (Charles), Aleksandr Abdulov (Doctor Husband), Viktor Palech (Merchant); Runtime: 167; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; Cinema Guild (PAL form; 1989-Russia-in Russian with English subtitles-in color)|
|"It's a heavy going film with
great visual moments, but also can frustrate
you by being so self-indulgent."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov ("Moloch"/"Elegy
of a Voyager"/"Taurus") boldly adapts Gustave
Flaubert's Madame Bovary to the screen, keeping the
spirit of the novel intact while setting it in 19th
century Siberia. Yuriy Arabov writes the screenplay.
rural Russia, the materialistic plain looking
forty-something Emma (Cécile
Zervudacki), mother of a
neglected adolescent daughter, is the unhappy wife of
a kind-hearted but buffoonish doctor (Aleksandr
Abdulov) specializing in
foot problems and doing blood drains. Emma shops
regularly with the gouging flamboyant merchant (Viktor
Palech) and has run up a large debt buying
mostly junk from France. When hubby botches a clubfoot
operation on his neighbor's stable boy, his rep is
shot and he goes into heavy debt. Meanwhile Emma gets
off having a passionate affair with an aristocratic
neighbor (Aleksandr Cherednik), but he
deserts her to live in Rome. Emma takes on other
lovers, including a possessive recent university grad
downfall reaches ground zero when the merchant tells
her hubby of her large debt and the world-weary
humiliated woman chooses to escape her seemingly
unbearable dull life by swallowing rat poison.
makes largely for an overlong and stiff watch, as
Emma'a soul is constantly examined. We catch her on
the way down, as her bad feelings about being in a
one-sided loveless marriage grow incessant and that
she can no longer bear living in a suffocating country.
It's a heavy going film with great visual moments, but
also can frustrate you by being so self-indulgent.
REVIEWED ON 7/27/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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