A film less about Rasputin, and more about the people that surrounded him. It is also an intriguing film, if you consider the prevailing conditions in USSR when this film was made. I am privileged to have met Klimov in Hyderabad, India in 1986. My full review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.in/2008/06/67-soviet-russian-director-elem-klimovs.htm
Klimov's attempt to bring Rasputin's final year to life is unfortunately a failure mostly due to casting. Petrenko's performance is one of overacting and mugging making Rasputin look more like a clown than a perverted by power monk. Tone of film is all over the place though one must respect the use of documentary and recreated footage intersperced throughout. First half hour is quite informative and interesting.
A mesmerizing film that fuses historic footage of Russia in 1916 with the bizarrely haunting tale of Rasputin and the Romanov family. Many scenes are like paintings - graceful, soft colours, and stoic performances. Rasputin is, of course, manic and psychosis - his downfall paralleled by the fall of the Imperial family. It would have been nice to see more of the revolutions, but overall a lavish and beautiful film.
Obviously the major question that Klimov tries to make understand in this film is the theme of power, the insanity of power and he uses Rasputin controversial figure and story to get to the his point. The film it's marvelous, full of references to other directors, painters (the frames where he composed painting scenes) and has great performances, mainly Petrenko's.
It's definitely an unfocused film, Klimov seems to have the appropiate idea combining doc footage within the movie but the truth is, the historical details depicted are not on par with the plot, which simplifies to the point of having only a handful of largely unconnected crucial moments thrown in succession, which left me a bit startled since Klimov's artistry is so adroit here. A very interesting film nonetheless.
interesting in so much as it displays the awkward nature of Klimov's transition from bitter satire to serious historical work. Immensely ill disciplined with some scenes of awkward humour, some musical numbers and more than a few that just dont make sense and should have been edited out. once again critiques of the Soviets and christian iconography abound. ambitious, engaging but ultimately an awkward failure.