Boris Godounov

1989 [FRENCH]

Drama / Musical

IMDb Rating 7.1 10 306

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November 20, 2021 at 03:39 AM


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Russian 2.0
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1 hr 57 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 9 / 10


Boris Godunov is a masterpiece, the title character is one that lives long into the memory, the story is compelling and Mussorgsky's music is sublime. This 1989 Boris Godunov is wonderful, I prefer the 1990 production for Valery Gergiev's amazing conducting, but the conducting here is still great. The costumes, sets and photography are ravishing, and possibly more ornate and appealing than the other production I spoke of, and many scenes especially the Coronation scene and Death scene are beautifully staged. The performances are first rate, of the support cast, Paul Plishka as the voice of Pimen stood out as exceptional, and Dimitri, Marina and Varlaam are more than convincingly portrayed. Best of all though is the towering and often moving performance of singing-actor Ruggero Raimondi. Overall, this Boris Godunov is wonderful. 9/10 Bethany Cox

Reviewed by estavill 10 / 10

best opera-inspired film ever seen

This is the best opera-inspired film I have ever seen. It's not what we frequently see: a filming of a theater performance. This is a masterpiece of its own, with the force and drama of Mussorgsky's music, but added with the insight of a professional film-maker. You will see wonderful scenes and color, with some artistic freedom to achieve cinematographic characters that really makes you understand the inner drama of a complex and appealing historic personage.

Reviewed by louisadrianprice 10 / 10

Stands aside other deranged Zulawski classics.

I am not an opera buff, and also not a big fan of opera movies, but this film managed to leave my jaw on the floor through most of the running time without me knowing exactly why. Simply put, this is business as usual for fans of Andrzej Zulawski, and is made in his signature in your face fashion. In fact this will probably aggravate a lot of opera purists because it openly breaks all the rules of opera movies, and includes copious nudity, violence, and some crazy performances. One scene has a character singing an aria whilst strolling through the woods, suddenly he walks into a tree, but the singing continues. There are two sex scenes that involve singing throughout. Every so often we catch clear sight of the film crew shooting the action. Visually it slightly resembles Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible part 2 (which also involves grotesquely stylised Boyars), but it also shares quite a few similarities with the director's own 'On the Silver Globe', which also has large set pieces involving crowds of outlandishly costumed people undulating in mass hysteria. This would actually make a great double bill with the anthology film 'Aria', that also marries passionate and intense visuals to soaring and emotional opera music. I really don't understand why this has been out of distribution for so long, but Zulawski's films are so in your face, so far removed from 'normal' filmmaking, that pairing this sensibility with a famous and well loved opera is not going to tick many mainstream boxes. If you like intense, extreme cinema, then check this out.

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