The Idiot by Dostoevsky discussion

The Idiot films

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message 1: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
Discussion of film versions of The Idiot

message 2: by Tracy (last edited Dec 30, 2017 08:44PM) (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
Here's the superb 9.5 hour Russian mini-series with English subtitles fully available online:

Russian film 9.5 hour miniseries 2003 starring Evgeny Mironov
(turn on subtitles in settings icon - note however that the person who wrote the subtitles did not know English well at all)
You can also by it on but be forewarned - the dvd is entirely in Russian with no directions in regard to how to turn on the subtitles. Fortunately I discovered a subtitles button on my remote.....

(LATER: I just started to view the film online to make sure the subtitles were visible, and discovered that it started with the second episode though it called it episode one. Where is the first episode with Myshkin, Rogozhin and Lebedev on the train? That is the first episode on the dvd. I can't find it on Youtube. Youtube lists the first episode as the one beginning with Mishkin's first visit to the Epanchins)

Here are some clips from the first part of book one, from the above film:

There's also a 2 hour Russian version of the Idiot which I haven't seen:
Russian 2 hour film 1958 (turn on subtitles)

Here are BBC radio dramatizations (which which don't get great reviews)
BBC radio dramatization

message 3: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 15 comments Thanks for all those links Tracy! I presume that you read the novel before encountering the Russian mini-series?

message 4: by Tracy (last edited Dec 29, 2017 11:39AM) (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
No, I haven't read the novel yet, Haaze, except for the first four chapters the past few days. I finished watching the mini-series, which has motivated to want to read the novel (which I was planning to read soon anyway, since I'm drawn to "holy fool" characters) right away. I don't mind that I know the plot now.

The mini-series is supposedly quite true to the book (though the subtitles are almost laughable - they remind me of Chinglish, Chinese street signs in English) though I just read that the character Ganya doesn't come across well in the mini-series in relation to the book, and some people think that Nastassia, one of the female leads, is poorly cast.

The actor who played Mishkin was superb. The character reminds me of Pierre in the War and Peace mini-series .........especially Anthony Hopkins' rendition of him.

message 5: by Gösta (new)

Gösta Steneskog (gosta) | 17 comments Haaze wrote: "Thanks for all those links Tracy! I presume that you read the novel before encountering the Russian mini-series?"

I plan to read a part first and the take the corresponding part of the mini-series. I did so when we read Brothers Karamazov and last year I participated in a group "We read films" where we first read at book and then watched the movie(s). A movie is usually not as rich as the book and we did discuss what was focussed and what was left out.

Sometimes the movie is very loyal with the book - a reduced version anyway where something is more in focus and other parts are discarded. Most interesting was when the movie had perspective and we got a interesting discussion about what and why.

But I expect this mini-serie is quite loyal.

message 6: by Tracy (last edited Feb 18, 2018 03:52AM) (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
I just started watching the Japanese adaptation of The Idiot which I got from Netflix. ("Masayuki Mori stars as Kinji Kameda, a war veteran who was sentenced to death then pardoned in Akira Kurosawa's adaption which relocated the story from Russia to the snow-covered island of Hokkaido, Japan.")

It really is based on The Idiot, though the characters are Japanese and there are some small variations in it. I've only watched 45 minutes of it but so far I've noted several differences. One is Nastassya inviting Mishkin to her party (I guess the Japanese would view him appearing uninvited to be just too rude!.

The other is him telling the story of his own being reprieved from dying at the last moment. He was entranced with her eyes, and told her that they were like the eyes of the young man ahead of him who was shot. She was in tears listening to him, then said she trusted him and asking him who she should marry. This Nastassya so far seemed more sensitive and less mocking than Dostoevsky's Nastassya.

It's nearly three hours long, apparently with each book of the novel somewhat corresponding to about 45 minutes of the film (though apparently book one takes up more of the film).

Maybe others of you can get it -
Meanwhile you might want to watch the beginning episodes of the Russian mini-series online at Youtube.

message 7: by Len (new)

Len | 4 comments I am trying to find it on Netflix. Does it have a different title?

message 8: by Tracy (last edited Feb 20, 2018 01:13PM) (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
I got it on Netflix but on dvd. It's called The Idiot. But maybe they don't have it available by streaming. (I still have it out on dvd). I just looked it up on Netflix dvd site. The listing says:

The Idiot 1951 NR 2hr 46m
Masayuki Mori stars as Kinji Kameda, a war veteran who was sentenced to death and then pardoned, in Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which relocates the story from Russia to the snow-covered island of Hokkaido, Japan. Recently released from an asylum, the fragile Kameda descends further into madness when he becomes entangled with two women (Setsuko Hara and Yoshiko Kuga) and an old friend (Toshirô Mifune).

In order to keep the names straight, I made a list:
Kameda - Myshkin
Akama - Rogozhin
Taeko Nasu - Nastassya
Tohato - Nastassya's "keeper"
The Onos - the Epanchins (in this case, General Ono is the
relative, not the wife)
Kayama - Ganya
Ayako - Aglaya

It doesn't include all the characters in the book. I'm not sure there's a Lebedev or all of Aglaya's sisters. I'm afraid I suffer from the American racist attitude of "all Asians look alike" but am getting better at telling them apart. The Japanese version of Nastassya is not particularly attractive in my opinion and seems more sensitive than Nastassya in the book - she's reduced to tears of appreciation by Myshkin.

message 9: by Len (new)

Len | 4 comments Thanks Tracy. I will try to find the dvd.

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