21 years ago today the city of Leningrad officially changed its name back to St. Petersburg, eliminating the icky Soviet nod to Lenin that marred the northern Russian port since 1924. Instead of focusing on this major change-up in Russian history, however, I’d rather take a look at a major change-up in Russian literature with the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Anna Karenina. See how I seamlessly transitioned from something boring to something more fun that I’d rather talk about? It’s a gift.
Anna Karenina just screams “Russia” to me with its somber winter imagery, the omnipresent conflict between society folk and peasants, and its emphasis on the shaming of forward-thinking women. This new interpretation of the old tale holds onto these aspects of the novel, but presents them in a crazy new way that has reignited my interest in visiting Russia and encouraged me to finish the last 100 pages of the 800+ page book (even though we all know what happens in the end anyway).
Whereas the Russia in the novel seems like a total buzz kill, the trailer for the film version (starring Keria Knightly and Jude Law, out November 9th) makes the nation seem like a fanciful land which I would love to slow motion waltz throughout:
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Dramatic back bends in period garb! Ecstatic lovemaking on gilded sheets! Fireworks and snow indoors! Sure, all of this is a movie magic representation of a long-gone era, but now that I know what Russia could be like, I can drink enough vodka when I’m there to hallucinate it as being this grand. Get me a Russian visa and a double shot glass, stat!