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Grigori Kozintsev's King Lear
Grigori Kozintsev's King Lear
Actors: Yuri Yarvet, Elsa Radzin, Galina Volchek, Oleg Dal, Valentin Shendrikova
Director: Grigori Kozintsev
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family
UR     2007     2hr 19min

Hailed as one of the best adaptations of this Shakespearean tragedy, Grigori Kozintsev?s KING LEAR is a striking epic interpretation based on a translation by novelist Boris Pasternak and driven by a stirring score by comp...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Yuri Yarvet, Elsa Radzin, Galina Volchek, Oleg Dal, Valentin Shendrikova
Director: Grigori Kozintsev
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life, Kids & Family
Studio: Facets
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/30/2007
Original Release Date: 08/06/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 08/06/1975
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 19min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Russian
Subtitles: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

Yes, it's the Russian version! Finally on DVD!
Criterion Collector | CT USA | 02/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Pay no attention to the previous comments. This is not a "second tier" film which "could be good." It is one of the best, if not *the* best filmed versions of Shakespeare. Not sure why the product description emphasizes Yuri Yarvet's being "thin" and "frail." Most commentators note the great energy of his performance, which makes his fall into madness all the more poignant. Also notable is the Shostakovich score, which together with the muddy, rustic backdrops heightens the sense of tragedy approaching. Think of this as great Russian filmmaking, combined with a great Shakespearean play, to the benefit of both."
Little Known Masterpiece
Galina | Virginia, USA | 04/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)


This version of "King Lear" is an incredible achievement due to the masterful adaptation from the Shakespeare original by one of the best Russian poets, writers, and translators of the last century, Boris Pasternak; elegant and powerful images by the cinematographer Jonas Gritsius (he also worked with Grigori Kozintsev on the earlier Shakespeare's adaptation, "Hamlet", 1964), the music of Dimity Shostakovich, and the great performances from all actors.

Estonian actor Jüri Järvet is masterful as the mad king in a performance which is reminiscent of Kinski as another brilliant madman - Aguirre. They were even the same age when they played Aguirre and Lear. The whole cast is amazing: Kozintsev chose the best actors possible for his project and everyone delivers. I'd like to mention Oleg Dal as the touching Fool; Karl Sebris as the Duke of Gloucester, whose scenes with his son Edgar after having been blinded are very moving; Regimantas Adomaitis as Edmund, a treacherous son and brother but a brilliant man; and Donatas Banionis (who played the main character in Tarkovsky's Solaris) as an intelligent and noble Albany. But like I said, everyone and everything is just perfect in this little known but IMO, the Best adaptation of the beloved and one of the most wrenching tragedies in the English and in the world literature.

Yes, finally on DVD but what a transfer ...!
Giuseppe Tulli | Caracas, Distrito Federal Venezuela | 03/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Priceless masterpiece but unwatchable on my 16:9 TV because it was encoded in 4:3 aspect ratio. Of course I could zoom the picture to fill the screen but lost the subtitles (I don't speak Russian). Ultimately I had to reencode the movie in 16:9, adding ripped subtitles.

But that's not all. The DVD is 29.97 fps (video) and not 23.976 (film), as if encoded from S-VHS (picture quality is good-old-VHS like). So if your DVD player or display's deinterlacing is sub-par you get bonus picture artifacts.

I also bought the also priceless Hamlet of Kosintzev from the same publishers and has the same problems (but with burnt-in subtitles).

Well, in the end it's better than nothing ..."
KING LEAR - review
A. J. Papprill | Manukau, New Zealand | 05/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This version of LEAR is rightly regarded as seminal in the history of films made of Shakespeare's plays. The sparse, bare sets, the spiritual torment of the characters as Kozintsev explores Lear's fall from power endorses the NEW YORKER's declaration that the film would "stand as one of the unshakeable edifices of Shakespearean imagination.""