Scholarly article on topic 'Filming the Classics: Tolstoy's Resurrection as ‘Thaw’ Narrative'

Filming the Classics: Tolstoy's Resurrection as ‘Thaw’ Narrative Academic research paper on "Law"

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Abstract of research paper on Law, author of scientific article — David Gillespie

Abstract This paper examines Mikhail Shveitser's film version of Lev Tolstoy's last major novel, Resurrection, released in two parts in 1960 and 1962. The timing of the production and release is significant, and this paper analyzes the relevance of Tolstoy's novel for soviet society during the post-Stalin ‘Thaw’. The themes of social injustice and spiritual rebirth are equally valid for Russian society in the late nineteenth century as in the immediate post-Stalin period. Of special interest is the director's use of the illustrations to the novel by Leonid Pasternak in the 1898 publication.

Academic research paper on topic "Filming the Classics: Tolstoy's Resurrection as ‘Thaw’ Narrative"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 200 (2015) 11 - 19


CULTURE, 27-30 October 2015

Filming the Classics: Tolstoy's Resurrection as 'Thaw' Narrative

David Gillespieab*

aUniversity of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK bTomsk State University, 36, Lenin Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russia


This paper examines Mikhail Shveitser's film version of Lev Tolstoy's last major novel, Resurrection, released in two parts in 1960 and 1962. The timing of the production and release is significant, and this paper analyzes the relevance of Tolstoy's novel for soviet society during the post-Stalin 'Thaw'. The themes of social injustice and spiritual rebirth are equally valid for Russian society in the late nineteenth century as in the immediate post-Stalin period. Of special interest is the director's use of the illustrations to the novel by Leonid Pasternak in the 1898 publication.

© 2015TheAuthors.Published by ElsevierLtd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of National Research Tomsk State University. Keywords: Filimg the classics; Tolstoy's novel; Russian society; post-Stalin period

1. Introduction

Resurrection (Воскресение) was the first of Tolstoy's "big" novels to be adapted for the Soviet screen (not counting the filmed MKhAT version of Anna Karenina, directed in 1953 by Tat'iana Lukashevich). Released in two parts in 1960 and 1962, it was directed by the relative newcomer Mikhail Shveitser (1920-2000). The release of a film about a miscarriage of justice, arbitrary punishment and the iniquities of the legal system at this time in postStalin history would, of course, have had a resonance beyond the immediate cultural context, and more of this will be said later.

Resurrection was Tolstoy's last long novel, which he began in 1889-90, working on it again in 1895-96 and finally completing it in 1899, although apparently he regarded it as still unfinished. The novel itself has a social

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-225-385404 E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Peer-review under responsibility of National Research Tomsk State University. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.08.003

conscience impossible to ignore, and was written with a specific social purpose in mind: Tolstoy intended the proceeds to finance the fundamentalist Christian Dukhobors' emigration to Canada, and was rushed to complete it in time (and thus his seeming dissatisfaction with the final product). As it was his first novel in twenty years it was eagerly awaited by the international community. It was also his most successful in terms of copies sold, and provoked a storm of debate.^1 It should be noted that its first Russian publication was heavily censored, especially Tolstoy's criticism of the Church, and the "sex scene" was cut from the American translation.2 With its attack on the Church and institutions of the state, the novel undoubtedly contributed to Tolstoy's excommunication by the Orthodox Church in 1901.

2. Mikhail Shveitser's film of Tolstoy's novel 'Resurrection'

2.1. Characterization

The central male character is Prince Nikolai Nekhliudov, who at the beginning of the novel is an indolent, rather cynical and world-weary representative of the idle rich, but who by the end of the novel has been reborn morally and spiritually, renouncing his class and turning his property over to the peasants. Nekhliudov's "resurrection" is occasioned by his presence as a jury member at the trial of Katerina Maslova, a prostitute accused of robbery and murder. Nekhliudov recognises in her the girl he seduced and abandoned three years previously, and is immediately overcome with remorse, believing himself to blame for her dramatic fall. He visits her in prison, and offers to marry her. He then follows her to Siberia, where she has been sentenced to hard labour. She rejects his proposal, choosing instead a platonic relationship in exile with Simonson, a People's Will revolutionary.

It is accepted that the novel began in Tolstoy's mind as a denunciation of the consequences of male lechery and sexual exploitation, to end with the motif of repentance, but as it progresses it becomes a wholesale attack on the upper classes, the criminal justice system, and the Orthodox Church. Mass destitution and hunger of the peasantry are similarly deplored and condemned.

Tolstoy's interest lies not so much in the fallen woman motif, a common one in nineteenth-century Russian literature, or even the inner torment and regeneration of Nekhliudov, but rather in broader questions of social justice, the corruption of the criminal justice system, and the hypocritical ways of the upper classes. Tolstoy lists with increasing indignation the crimes for which some of Maslova's cellmates have been convicted, including the farcical but tragic plight of a woman about to be exiled to Siberia despite her reconciliation with the husband she tried to poison. It is clear in the novel that all the women in prison have known nothing but pain and violence all their lives, and all at the hands of men.

Maslova is convicted of attempting to murder a client by administering him poison. The jury believes her when she insists she simply wanted to put him to sleep so he would stop pestering her. The intent is missing from the action, but the judge fails to remind the jury of this, and she is sentenced to four years hard labour. In other words, although everyone realises that a mistake has been made, largely through the judge's incompetence, nothing can be done to rectify it. This farce is heavily satirized by Tolstoy, as is the whole appeals procedure, where lawyers and judges realise a miscarriage of justice has taken place, but shrug their shoulders. Nekhliudov's attempt t o have her pardoned is eventually successful.

2.2. Themes and motifs

Tolstoy's attitude to the land question is also evident in the novel. Nekhliudov plans to give his lands away to the peasants, outraged that since the abolition of serfdom in 1861 the lot of most peasants has actually worsened, placing

1 All page references to Tolstoy's text are to the following edition: Tolstoy, L. (1982). Voskresenie. Cheboksary: Chuvashskoe knizhnoe izdatel'stvo. All translations are my own.

For details, see Figes, O. (2002). Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (pp. 343-344). London: Allen Lane.

2 Tolstoy's criticism of the Church still upset Western scholars many decades later. R. F. Christian wrote in 1969 that the scene of the prison chapel service was "bitterly ironical, polemical and blasphemous" (Christian, R. F. (1969). Tolstoy: A Critical Introduction (p.228).Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), while Ernest J. Simmons in 1973 similarly complained that this scene was one of several "lapses of taste" and was "blasphemously satiric" (Simmons, E. J. (1973). Tolstoy (p. 194). London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.)

those who do not have any land at the mercy of those who do. Serfdom has been replaced by "slavery" (202), and Nekhliudov conveys Tolstoy's own ideas on what is wrong and how it can be put right:

Now it was as clear to him as day that the main reason for the people's poverty, of which the people itself was aware and always expressed, was that the land which alone could feed them had been taken away from the people by the landowners. And at the same time it was absolutely clear that children and old people were dying because they had no milk, and there was no milk because there no land on which cattle could graze and which would provide corn and hay. It was absolutely clear that all of the people's misery, or at least the main and most immediate cause of it, lay in the fact that the land that fed the people did not belong to the people, but belonged to people who used their right to the land to live on the labour of the people. It was the land, which was so essential to the life of the people, that was worked by people brought to the extremes of poverty in order for the corn cultivated on it to be sold abroad and the landowners could buy themselves hats, walking canes, carriages, bronze busts and so on. This was as obvious to him now as it was obvious that horses locked away in an enclosure where they had eaten away all the grass that had grown beneath their hooves would be thin and die of hunger unless they were given the opportunity to find another pasture. And this was horrifying; it could not be and should not be. (221)

As will be seen below, this and other passages in the novel have a direct twentieth- century relevance. With Nekhliudov's journey to Siberia, the reader gets a panoramic view of Russian life, from the upper classes, the privileged ways of the legislature through the police and warders who serve them, right down to the peasants and convicts, the lowest of the low. Tolstoy is as enamoured of Katiusha Maslova as he is with Anna Karenina, and shows through her own consciousness how she evolves from an insulted and injured innocent as she is dismissed from her employment, the loss of the child she bore from her seduction by Nekhliudov, and her descent into poverty and prostitution. When we see her in prison she is a worldly wise individual, but whose inner strength and wisdom remain intact, so much so that she rejects Nekhliudov's offer of marriage, realising that he is above all interested in saving himself, not her. Nekhliudov follows her into Siberian exile, where he learns that his petition to have her pardoned has been successful. Nevertheless, she decides to remain in Siberia and devotes herself to the cause of the People's Will revolutionaries.

In the first two parts of the novel Tolstoy's tone is one of moral indignation and heavy satire detailing the cynicism, infidelities, and sheer venality of those involved in the legal profession, from judges to defence lawyers, and the cumbersome nature of the appeals procedure (which enables the author to mock the pretensions and hypocrisies of St Petersburg high society). He is also not afraid to mock social pretension, such as the "French phrases of the Slavophile Katerina Alekseevna" (92). By the third part of the novel he has adopted an increasingly strident moralistic and didactic tone that is dominated by a rejection of the socio-political status quo. Maslova remains in a platonic relationship with the other-worldly radical Simonson, having found some stability and meaning in her life. The novel ends with Nekhliudov vowing to live a new and better life having read the Gospels, his "resurrection" complete with his realization that it is the fate of man not to follows his own will, but to carry out the will of God on earth.

The novel includes many secondary characters whose personalities are strikingly conveyed. From the upper classes, these include the cynical and venal lawyer Fanarin and the bombastic, self-important Vice-Governor of St Petersburg Maslennikov, the Korchagin family who wish their flighty daughter to marry Nekhliudov (his dismissal of the idea testifies to his growing disillusionment with his own class), Toporov, the Chief Prosecutor of the Holy Synod whose very name ("axe") suggests ruthlessness, and who is seen as a caricature of the reactionary Procurator of the Holy Synod, the ambitious and influential Konstantin Pobedonostsev, and the flighty Mariette, a former friend whose suggestion of a liaison Nekhliudov equates with the propositioning of a street prostitute. Throughout Tolstoy equates real criminals such as murderers with "respectable" businessmen and military leaders.

From the lower classes and convicts, we have generally positive portraits of Kitaeva, the brothel keeper who helps Maslova with money while in prison; Simonson, whose rather puritanical views on sex clearly resemble Tolstoy's at the time (a female equivalent is the prisoner Mar'ia Pavlovna, the daughter of a general who has turned her back on her class); the peasant Nabatov, who embodies Tolstoy's ideal of how best to live and whose name ("alarm") suggests moral disquiet and a call to penance, and Kryl'tsov, a revolutionary who advocates peaceful

social change. There are some characters who represent shades of grey among this otherwise highly schematized list, such as Selenin, a time-serving lawyer who still recognises that he once had ideals. Of particular interest to the author is Novodvorov, a revolutionary who wishes to impose his views on others, is convinced he is right in everything, and seeks only to destroy. Novodvorov's single-mindedness and ends-justifies-the-means ruthlessness are explored over several pages, the authorial conclusion being that his radicalism is the result of personal shortcomings.3 This character is recognizable as a future socialist realist "positive hero" and is clearly based on Rakhmetov in Nikolai Chernyshevskii's 1863 novel What is to be Done? (Что делать?), looking forward to Pavel Korchagin in Nikolai Ostrovskii's 1934 socialist realist classic How the Steel Was Tempered (Как закалялась сталь). In the novel Novodvorov reads Karl Marx, does not drink or smoke, rejects religion and despises women.

Critics have also noted that the use of the name "Nekhliudov" would arouse the attention of readers familiar with the writer's career, as a character with this surname appears in several much earlier works, such as Boyhood (Отрочество, 1854), Youth (Юность, 1857), A Landowner's Morning (Утро помещика, 1856), and Lucerne (Люцерн, 1857). It has been noted that the same character, the "seeker after truth," appears in later works as Levin in Anna Karenina (1875-77) and Olenin in The Cossacks (Казаки, 1863).4 In Resurrection Nekhliudov abandons his class, and turns his property over to the peasants as he follows Maslova to Siberia, where he discovers his own truth of moral and spiritual rebirth.

Resurrection is generally regarded as inferior to Tolstoy's earlier novels not only because of the didactic tone and polemical content, but the lack of clear psychological motivation in the protagonist's actions. Nekhliudov's spiritual odyssey is schematic and predictable, driven not by the character's inner needs but by the author's artistic design. This is perhaps best summed up by T. G. S. Cain: "In setting Nekhlyudov on a spiritual journey of which he already knows the destination, Tolstoy denies his novel the possibility of that marvellously fresh apprehension of the complexity and irrationality of human experience which is one of his greatest strengths as a novelist".5 It can be argued, however, that Tolstoy as a thinker has moved on form the earlier novels where he demonstrated his mastery of character and situation: in this novel he shows himself to be a clear-sighted social critic with a radical agenda for change. Criminality is a direct consequence of social deprivation, Tsarist society governed by a corrupt, self-serving and morally bankrupt ruling class.

As noted earlier, the decision to adapt Resurrection for the screen at this time in Soviet history is particularly revealing. A film about unjust punishment and a corrupt legal system were very topical issues of the day. Certainly, the director Alexander Mitta notes in his memoirs that this was the first time that prison life had been shown in any Soviet film; therefore, the scenes set in prison and exile were "staggering" for Soviet audiences: "For the first time on the screen the lack of people's rights in Russia screams out candidly and fiercely."6 Although it is not yet known exactly how the decision to film this novel was taken at an executive level, or the development of the screenplay, both Mosfil'm administrators and those directly involved in the film's production would have been keenly aware of how it would be viewed by those accustomed to reading between the lines of official rhetoric for hints of deeper truths. Later in 1962 Soviet readers would themselves read in Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Один день Ивана Денисовича) that the terrible conditions in Stalin's Gulag differed little from the prison and transit experiences of Tolstoy's time that the film depicts in such detail.

One probable source for the film's screenplay is Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko's 1930 stage version for the Moscow Art Theatre. In it the actor Vasilii Kachalov took the role of the author, commenting on the action and on characters' words, deeds and thoughts, thus externally verbalizing Tolstoy's psychological exploration. Irina Solovyova notes that Kachalov's "ironic attitude towards social construction could not conceal an inexhaustible Tolstoyan - and personal - feeling and enthusiasm for life." Also, Nekhliudov is shown as simply the cause of

3 Novodvorov has the major attributes of the future socialist realist 'positive hero', and is clearly based on the character Rakhmetov in Nikolai Chernyshevskii's 1863 novel What Is To Be Done? (Что делать?), and looking forward to Pavel Korchagin in Nikolai Ostrovskii's socialist realist classic How the Steel Was Tempered (Как закалялась сталь, 1934). Novodvorov reads Karl Marx, is totally devoted to the struggle, rejects religion, does not smoke or drink and despises women. This character is not developed in the film version.

4 Cain, T. G. S. (1977). Tolstoy (p. 44). London: Paul Elek.

5 Cain, T. G. S. (1977). Tolstoy (p. 180). London: Paul Elek.

6 Mitta, A. (2000). Kino mezhdu adom i raem (p. 14). Moscow: Podkova.

Katiusha Maslova's sufferings, and it is Katiusha who is more prominent. Shveitser's film is obviously influenced by Nemirovich-Danchenko's "ironic and sarcastic" tone, and similarly remaining "indifferent to his [Tolstoy's] religious and ethical preaching".7 As in the theatrical adaptation, Katiusha Maslova is the film's moral focus, not the repentant nobleman Nekhliudov.

The "epic" stature of the film is asserted at the very start, as Tolstoy's image is super-imposed over the opening credits. The film's visual realization owes much to the illustrations of Leonid Pasternak, whom Tolstoy invited to work on the production design of the book in 1898. Tolstoy had been impressed with Pasternak's work on an 1893 special album dedicated to War and Peace (Война и мир), and Pasternak subsequently produced 33 illustrations for the new novel that earned him international acclaim. Michael Holman comments: 'As a panorama of Russian life at the turn of the century the cycle remains unsurpassed to this day.'8 Thus, scenes set in the crowded, smoky prison cell and the courtroom, Katiusha's white headscarf as she is flanked by other prisoners, the Easter church service, poverty in the countryside with barefoot children, and the two rows of prisoners separated by the wire fences, the space between them patrolled by warders, are all obviously influenced by Pasternak's original illustrations. Some of these illustrations are reproduced below, with their corresponding scene from the film.

Fig. 2. Maslova on her way to court

7 Solovyova, I. (1999). The Theatre and Socialist Realism. In R. Leach & Victor Borovsky (Eds.), A History of Russian Theatre (p. 346). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

8 Holman, M. J. de K. (1995/96). Illustrating the English Version of Resurrection: Leonid Pasternak's Correspondence with Louise Maude.

Slavonica, 2 (1), 28.

Fig. 3. The Judges

Fig. 5. Visiting prisoners behind bars

Fig. 6. Poverty in the countryside

The film closely follows the Nekhliudov-Maslova plot, complete with flashbacks, ironic asides and authorial voice-overs, and with a surprisingly positive, if muted, attitude to religion, a clear signifier of the increased liberalism of the time. It is no surprise that Nekhliudov's "resurrection" takes place without its Biblical context, but

such an excision effectively means that Tolstoy's hero merely has a change of heart based on an acknowledgement of his guilt, but he has not found God. Rather, the moral high ground is consequently occupied by Katiusha Maslova.

Given that the novel contains an angry denunciation of a corrupt criminal justice system, and focuses on a person innocent of any crime but still convicted and sentenced, the contemporary parallels with post-Stalin society are obvious. This is particularly obvious in a scene not in the original novel. In the novel Nekhliudov meets with Maslennikov, the Vice-Governor of St Petersburg, and brings up the topic of the mistreatment of prisoners. In Tolstoy's text Maslennikov simply replies with platitudes about the need to maintain "order" ("порядок"). In the film, however, Maslennikov says something more: "Интересы народа, охраняемые нами, так важны, что излишние усердия к вопросам, касающимся охраны этих интересов, не так страшны и важны, как излишнее равнодушие." ("The interests of the people that we protect are so important that excessive zeal in issues concerning the preservation of these interests are not as fearsome and importance as excessive indifference.")" It is clear here that Shveitser is addressing not nineteenth-century penal conditions but rather violations of legality in a more recent past.

Tolstoy's anger is also directed at the general who ordered the massacre of civilians in the Caucasus and Poland, and who now presides over prison conditions which lead to one half of prisoners dying or killing themselves. When Nekhliudov later travels to the countryside he learns of a family left in hardship without their breadwinner, who has been imprisoned merely for cutting down some trees (ironically, on Nekhliudov's own estate). Again, contemporary parallels with "violations of socialist legality" and the draconian punishments for minor offences that characterized Stalinism are not hard to find.

As the novel also shows Nekhliudov's moral awakening, and his sense of responsibility and guilt for past misdeeds, the film can also be seen as a call for Soviet society to look into its own soul and seek "repentance" decades before Tengiz Abuladze's film of that name defined the political agenda of Gorbachev's perestroika. In both the novel and the film Nekhliudov's social conscience is awoken when he sees how men and women are prepared to suffer real hardship for their beliefs, and bear this with great fortitude and dignity.

Shveitser uses visual metaphors from the outset. In an early scene that cleverly uses both close-ups of faces and amplified sound effects, Nekhliudov first visits Maslova in prison and begs for forgiveness amid the tumult of the crowd of other visitors and inmates, all separated by high wire fences. Nekhliudov puts his hands to his ears as his senses are assaulted by "a deafening cry of a hundred voices merging into one clamour" (144). His words of remorse for past deeds are drowned out, as are the calls of all the others around him. This is a major scene that lasts for several minutes, foregrounding many anguished expressions as the camera swings from one person to another, and the viewer is left in no doubt about the inhumanity of this system. This is a visually powerful scene that successfully transposes the association Nekhliudov initially makes of the cacophony with the buzzing of flies. Individual voices are not heard, the wire fences remain the dominant symbol of the regime's callousness and oppression, its ability to prevent communication, understanding and forgiveness.

Similarly, later in the film when the convicts are marching towards the railway station before being transported to Siberia, there is a glaring contrast between the barefoot children of the convicts, dressed in rags and thumbing their insolence to bystanders, and the affluent children of the well-to-do who watch them pass. The blank faces of their dolls serve as an apposite symbol of the superficiality and indifference of their class. However, a more important scene occurs immediately afterwards, when a prisoner collapses from heat exhaustion. In the novel this scene is merely an illustration of the callousness of the penal system, but in the film it lasts for several minutes. The indifference of the guards is starkly offset by the concern of ordinary people who insist that a doctor be called. The prisoner dies, and the tragedy of the loss of one life is not confined to a nineteenth-century narrative. This scene also includes an uncredited cameo by the actor Rolan Bykov as a man obviously unhinged by his incarceration, another signifier to a contemporary audience of political oppression and its psychological impact.

Whereas Tolstoy begins his narrative with a description of springtime in the city and the revival of nature despite the depredations of man, in the film the first images we see are of an overcrowded prison cell holding dozens of women and children. This is a visual image of hell that effectively conveys Tolstoy's descriptions of the cell's sights and particularly its smells. Shveitser generally avoids depicting nature, apart from when Nekhliudov visits the countryside, and even then the camera lingers on the images of human misery, not the landscape. Thus, for the director the Tolstoyan contrast between the serenity and majesty of the natural world and the sordidness of human

affairs is not important. The corrupt world of men and the beauty of nature are contrasted throughout the novel from the opening pages. Later, when Nekhliudov feels "shameful and vile, vile and shameful" (100) at the hypocrisy of high society, this repulsion is offset by the beauty of a moonlit garden. The film, though, is a much more direct call for social justice to correct the mistakes of the past.

The contemporary parallels remain obvious as men and women, even in childbirth, are transported by train to Siberia. In the film contrasts abound, between rich and poor, purity and corruption, high society and the poor classes, but nowhere does Shveitser use nature as a counterpoint to social evils.

2.3. Style

At the trial itself, Tolstoy is careful to convey the thought processes of the main officials. Shveitser registers the leering male faces of the court, clearly showing that power engenders lust. The viewer gets a close-up of Maslova's face, then Nekhliudov's as he recognises her, his shock and horror graphically expressed. Then a voice-over explains how they met, and the history of their relationship is detailed as Nekhliudov's flashback. This use of voice-over can easily be seen as a traditional way of "filling in" information for the viewer's benefit, especially the viewer with little or no knowledge of the original text. But it is also an implicit acknowledgement of the Kachalov role in Nemirovich-Danchenko's stage version, with one crucial difference: Kachalov would comment and pass judgement on the proceedings, whereas the voice-over here simply relays information.

In the long court scene Shveitser frequently uses close-ups of lecherous, judgmental male faces to denote the corruption of the whole legal process. Whereas Tolstoy lists the unhappy marriages, alcohol abuse, extra-marital affairs and brothel visits of court officials and jury members, Shveitser superimposes asides showing these erstwhile upstanding citizens all merrily availing themselves of the very sins they are about to condemn. Whereas Tolstoy's tone is stern, Shveitser's visual realization is highly comic, intensifying the irony but also introducing a humorous, almost slapstick quality that remains absent in the rest of the film. Some acquaintance with the source text is nevertheless useful: the judge constantly looks at his watch, giving the impression that he is impatient with the proceedings and not very interested in the course of justice. Only the viewer familiar with the literary work would know that he is anxious not to be late for a tryst with his lover.

The use of voice-over as Nekhliudov recalls his seduction and abandonment of Maslova may be old-fashioned and traditional, but it serves a dual purpose: on the one hand, the viewer is reminded that this is an adaptation of a work by one of the Russia's greatest writers, while on the other it is something of an anomaly given that the film's moral core is transferred from Nekhliudov to Maslova. The director has nevertheless succeeded in recontextualising a classical text: the focus of his narrative is not the self-pitying male, but rather the wronged female who overcomes and forges her own destiny.

Shveitser uses music and soundtrack to traditional effect, that is, to intensify the film's emotional impact and thus to foreground the human drama.When Nekhliudov travels to the countryside and witnesses the widespread poverty there, orchestral strings rise on the soundtrack. A baby cries, and the audience's heart-strings are blatantly plucked. Music rises again as he hands out money to the villagers, and inevitably he does not have enough to go round all the poor and hungry. In the novel Nekhliudov travels to the countryside in order to give his land to the peasants who work it, but in the film he wants to find out what happened to Maslova's (and his) child, only believing that the child is dead when an old woman confirms it in the film. There is no meeting with the male peasants, no awkward conversation with the estate steward. Nekhliudov is profoundly affected by the poverty and deprivation he sees all around him, and although he gives away what money he has on his person, there is no discussion of giving away his land. Shveitser has remoulded Tolstoy's espousal of Henry George's views on universal land ownership into a more immediate and relevant human drama.

The starving peasants (all women and children) are crudely contrasted to the well-fed, self-serving Senators of St Petersburg, where Nekhliudov pleads unsuccessfully for Maslova's release. Orchestral music (composed and conducted by the eminent composer Grigorii Sviridov) is again used for dramatic effect when we see thousands of convicted men, women and children on the march, clearly indicating to the viewer two things: the extremely harrowing plight of these people, and the gross unfairness at the heart of Russian justice.

Nekhliudov embarks on a journey of self-discovery and moral and spiritual renewal from the moment he first sees Maslova in court. His inner salvation comes when he admits to Simonson at the end of the film "I am not free, but she is free", 416-17. Maslova learns that Nekhliudov's efforts to have her sentence reduced from hard labor to

exile have been successful, but she remains in Siberia with Simonson. Both she and Nekhliudov may have become different, in other words, better people, but the film's ending does not contain the explicit religious exhortation that brings the novel to an end (indeed, the novel opens with four quotations from the Bible as epigraphs). Nekhliudov and Maslova have changed internally, but external social conditions remain the same. Shveitser's film draws contemporary allusions to the crimes of the recent past, and, perhaps more speculatively, points to the need for Soviet's society's spiritual rebirth. The ideological need to remove the Biblical frame of reference for Nekhliudov's spiritual rebirth in effect makes Katiusha Maslova the moral centre of the film, and so the film represents a call for repentance for past misdeeds, and for social justice.

The critic Lev Anninskii in 1980 developed explicit links between then and now through the film's use of metaphor. While accepting that Shveitser's approach to adapting Tolstoy was the only correct one, that is, based on his own reading, this reading was "through the eyes of the year 1960."9 Throughout his analysis Anninskii argues that Shveitser is emphasising Tolstoy's affirmation of "immutable values, necessary to our time," such as moral responsibility for one's actions. Thus, Resurrection is "a real modern drama," the actors called upon to "avoid stylization" and "play out modern feelings." Even the costumes and make-up are reminiscent of the present-day, so that when watching a film about the 1890s, we should not forget that we are still in the 1960s.10

Anninskii also places the film in its cultural context, noting that when Part Two was released, in early 1962, the theme of moral integrity was one that was currently being explored in other films, such as Iulii Raizman's And What If It Is Love? (А если это любовь?, 1961), and Mikhail Romm's Nine Days of One Year (Девять дней одного года, 1961): "M. Shveitser has made a film based on Tolstoy's novel about personal moral responsibility."11

3. Conclusion

A particular feature of Soviet cinematic history is that literary adaptations have always been part of the struggle of ideas. If historical films always needed to say more about the present than the past, then the classical literary text was also a source of what Solzhenitsyn would term an "alternative truth". The rejection of collective morality and the consequent appeal to individual responsibility that the Thaw encouraged enabled Shveitser to make a film that could both faithfully reflect its literary text as well as make a pointed statement about the need for social and psychological change in Khrushchev's Thaw. A novel about social injustice, terrible penal conditions, a fractured social structure and the corruption and indifference of the political elite, could, should, and would have obvious topical relevance.

9 Anninskii, L. (1980). Lev Tolstoy i kinematograf (p. 202). Moscow: Iskusstvo.

10 Anninskii, L. (1980). Lev Tolstoy i kinematograf (pp. 204-205, 209). Moscow: Iskusstvo. Anninskii also states that the departure after Part One of the cinematographer Era Savel'eva, and costume designer David Savitskii can be explained by their unhappiness with this perceived tampering ("breaking up the great Tolstoy monoliths"); they were replaced in Part Two by Sergei Poluianov and Abram Freidin respectively (206).

11 Anninskii, L. (1980). Lev Tolstoy i kinematograf (p. 212). Moscow: Iskusstvo.