Friday, February 8, 2013

Fab Flick Friday: Doctor Zhivago

As I trekked down to my mailbox tonight, I sort of felt like Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago making his way through Siberia.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but this weather is definitely making me think of my favorite snow-filled movie, 1965’s Doctor Zhivago.

There’s really nothing I love more than a great romance set against a big dramatic backdrop, where the characters find love despite—or even because of—the world crumbling around them. And what could be a more dramatic setting than the Russian Revolution and the First World War?
Based on the wonderful Boris Pasternak novel, Doctor Zhivago stars the chocolatey-eyed Omar Sharif as the title character, Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie) as his wife, Tonya, and Julie Christie as the love of his life, Lara. If you’re planning on watching, have some Kleenex on standby, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Normally, I find it hard to be swept up in a love story that centers on adultery, but Yuri Zhivago truly is a man divided in every sense. He’s a doctor and a poet, a man of peace in a time of war, loves his wife, yet desperately loves his Lara. Every time Yuri and Lara speak to each other—even simple phrases like “How are you?” and “Zhivago”—you feel the complete passion between them deep into your bones. If it weren’t a time of war, and if the life Zhivago knew and loved wasn’t stripped from him, maybe he never would have acted on it, but as he loses everything, as he sees those around him being defeated or giving up, he always holds onto that one dream of Lara.

Everything about this movie is exquisite, from the acting, to the cinematography, to the gorgeous score and “Lara’s Song.” When I watch it, I love to hate Rod Steiger as the villainous (yet complicated) Komarovsky. I sigh at the romanticism of The Lara Poems. I kind of wish that I knew how to play the balalaika, and I definitely feel the frigid temperature of the harsh but beautiful Russian snow.

Or maybe it’s just that blizzard that’s happening outside right now.

So if you’re snowed in this weekend and haven’t lost power, why not snuggle up and take in a love story and history lesson all in one? And if you do lose power, light a candle, stare out at the snow and write some poetry. It’s what Yuri Andreyevich would do.

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