Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama

Based on the works of Russian legend Anton Chekov, this stylish treasure examines a village teacher undergoing an emotional crisis who torments himself and his young wife, while a doctor takes out his frustrations on his p...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Period Piece
Format: DVD
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Russian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Perfect portrayal of Chekhov's world
Peter S. Lunde | 10/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"From the opening moments of gay laughter and silliness to the closing shots of a lost Russian social class fading into time, Nikita Mikhalkov's film 'An Unfinished Piece for Player Piano' is perfect Chekhov. Drawn from 'Mr. Platonov', the story circles around a group of relatives and friends at a country estate. Everyone is giddy with boredom until a woman arrives who was Platonov's youthful love in past years. This arrival stirs up old memories and questions Platonov has never resolved about the former relationship and his life direction. Others are affected by his changed mood, and they too begin to question certain relationships among them. In Chekhov there is never tragedy in the sense of anger, betrayal, and death, but rather in nuances of missed opportunities, regrets, and critical life insights always achieved in hindsight. Most of his plays leave you with a feeling of sadness and yearning for character types that no longer exist. The turn-of-the-century people he presents are part of a fading aristocracy that will be eliminated by the revolution of 1917. In this production, the ending is sweet. I have read and seen Chekhov's plays, but until you see a fine Russian production such as this one, you can never quite experience the tone and color of the story as Chekhov himself intended. The acting is superb (and includes Director Mikhalkov himself). A must see."
If you want to understand Chekhov, see this film.
Frederick R. Andresen | 07/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film is amazing, I only wish that it were more widely available"
A great revival of a Chekhov original.
Frederick R. Andresen | Corona del Mar, CA ( and sometimes Moscow and St. | 12/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I lived in Moscow, I was fortunate to see a revival of "Platonov," Chekhov's first play written at age 19. When it was rejected, he tore it up. But a copy was found in the 1920's and revived. Then on Moscow TV I watched Nikita Mikhalkov's great adaptation of it. It is so typical of Chekhov's images of the despondent and pointless life of Russian gentry in the late 19th century. It is full of contrasts at that time; fascinating, intellectual, and boring. The Russians in this pivotal time in Russian history seemed to find much in common and Chekhov is very much in style today. I have many favorite scenes.
By Frederick R. Andresen, author of "Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia."