Monday, October 30, 2006

Ralph Fiennes Reading Auden and Impersonating Onegin!

Listen to Ralph Fiennes (link to mp3) reading W H Auden's words of wisdom to lovers in his poem "As I Walked Out One Evening." It isn't as good as I was expecting it to be, but check it out in any case. The whole poem here. (Link via)

Also I saw the British movie Onegin yesterday in which Fiennes plays the great romantic anti-hero of Pushkin's classic verse novel. It is not a masterpiece, it even flirts with cliches at many places, but Fiennes is absolutely mesmerising. His portrayal redeems the film, perhaps even makes it a work of art in its own right. I am now all excited about rereading Eugene Onegin now after I have his image in my mind. Liv Tyler in the role of Tatyana looks great, and very similar to the young beauties that abound in the Russian novels, but somehow her role doesn't really work, specially in the last act where she has to actually rise to the scene but fails to do so.

Here's the trailer of the movie. The movie is less hollywoodish and less philistine than the trailer makes it to be!



By the way, did you know about the super-talented Fiennes family? Ralph's sister Martha directed the film while his brother composed the music for it. The music is good though it doesn't leave any distinct impression of its own, which is little disappointing given that there is a famous opera by Tchaikovsky and many musical productions which have been inspired by the story. Another of his sister Sophie plays a small role in the movie too and who is a filmmaker of her own. She directed the recent Zizek documentary The Pervert's Guide to Cinema which I linked to a couple of posts back.

I am going to reread Eugene Onegin now. Will write in detail about the book and the movie later. Wiki entry of the book here. Contains links to complete text in English too.

13 comments:

jyothsnay said...

Neat delineation of "Eugene Onegin"
Loved reading it..will wait for your review of the book...but as I said, will wait for your turn the leaves over me.am also ambitious of treading the path where musty volumes crowd thy shelf....

It's gonna be a tough battle for me to read when I am deep in my hearts wedded to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy...
when the first knock at feverish romance is introduced ..."
In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the restrained animation that played over her face and fluttered between her shining eyes and the barely noticeable smile that curved her red lips. It was as if a surplus of something so overflowed her being that it expressed itself beyond her will, now in the brightness of her glance, now in her smile...."
umm,it's the benchmark!
still....Ah, the passion comes in high waves like the waves of the ocean, sweeps through one's being consuming the soul in those lonely nights...I stay here.got to back to my Cookies..how can breathe passion in Cookies that one enjoys with the cup of tea...

wildflower seed said...

Alok
Congrats on reaching the 300 mark.

Thanks for letting me look into your Treasure House.

:)

jyothsnay said...

the sifted sunlight yellows and pinks the pallid faces, I close my eyes, and on my eyelids the day dies.....thank you for sharing that lovely piece with us

J
gosh look at so many typoes...in my first message...let me run back to the conference room

Alok said...

jyothsna: I haven't yet been able to finish Anna Karenina (Shame, Horror!) :) I read around 300 pages and for some reason got distracted. But i think I remember the scene you describe. Onegin isn't as detailed in its psychological description as Karenina, it is more abstract and deals in character types. It is also quite funny and very witty. will post some of my favourite extracts from the poem sometime.

wfs: thank you! do you mean one of those once-in-every-three-months "why do i continue to live" posts. :)

Alok said...

four lines from Onegin which i remembered well:

With womankind, the less we love them,
the easier they become to charm,
the tighter we can stretch above them
enticing nets to do them harm.

km said...

Fiennes is a phenomenal actor indeed. His performance in Cronenberg's "Spider" was so powerful.

Alok said...

True, yet it remains so underseen and underdiscussed. It is also amazing because Fiennes only mumbles throughout the film without any dialogues. He has a very powerful and evocative voice.

Vidya said...

@alok,
If anything is a euphemism, this one is.."It isn't as good as I was expecting it to be".

Even for a Finnes fan the poetry reading was quite a disappointment!! And talking of Spider,John Neville might have been better at poetry.

Alok said...

Ah, don't be so harsh on the poor chap. he already always looks so heartbroken and sad.

Szerelem said...

Fiennes is fabulous! But the poem readin was a disappointment.

I thought Onegin could have been really good but other than Fiennes the acting left me cold. Especially Liv Tyler. She just couldnt convey the passion that Tatyanas charector demands...

Alok said...

Wow! You have got a great name!! I am sure you must have seen The English Patient but there is another movie called Sunshine in which he plays a Hungarian... in three roles! seen it?
It is not a great film, but fiennes is great.

Szerelem said...

:D Why thank you!!
No I havent seen Sunshine. =(
It's one of the very few Fiennes movies I have not seen. have been tryin to get hold of it though - but it's quite hard to track down.
Fiennes hardly ever disappoints. Even in trite like Maid in Manhattan he is watchable. I still can't believe he hasn't won an Oscar yet!

Alok said...

I pointed it out because you have got a Hungarian name ;)

it is worth watching actually.