A Close Viewing: Bondarchuk’s War and Peace Part III

Film Studies Center

Like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the depiction of the Battle of Borodino in Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace is a bombastic and bone-shaking work of art. It is a legendary technological and organizational achievement, featuring thousands of extras and explosives in some of the most complicated shots ever committed to film. But it is also notable for its experiments with point of view, long tracking shots, and complex mise-en-scene, centered on the figure of the director himself, who, as Tolstoy’s main character Pierre Bezukhov, wanders through the scene in a white top hat and spectacles, marveling at what he is filming. To mark the 200th anniversary of Russia’s confrontation with Napoleon’s Grand Army, we will watch Part III of Bondarchuk’s film, the majority of which is devoted to the battle, and which (like the film’s other segments) appeared on Soviet screens as a separate release. The battle achieves its own climactic ending, and will leave us with plenty to talk about.

War and Peace, Part III
Sergei Bondarchuk
Mosfilm, 1967
77 min.
In Russian with English subtitles

Introduction and post-film discussion by William Nickell (Slavic Languages & Literatures)

A Slavic Colloquium event, sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures & CEERES

Posted in: CEERES Events/News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *