PLEDGE NOW
Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina on the big screen. We’ll open Tolstoy’s classic novel of, passion, love and despair.

This publicity film image released by Focus Features shows Keira Knightley in a scene from "Anna Karenina." While “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement” were fresh, lively takes for an age that finds costume drama stuffy, director Joe Wright planned a wild and possibly off-putting ride on “Anna Karenina,” confining most of the action to a dilapidated theater where the actors would perform in a stylized cinematic ballet without the usual grand sweep of period-drama locations. (AP)

This publicity film image released by Focus Features shows Keira Knightley in a scene from “Anna Karenina.” While “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement” were fresh, lively takes for an age that finds costume drama stuffy, director Joe Wright planned a wild and possibly off-putting ride on “Anna Karenina,” confining most of the action to a dilapidated theater where the actors would perform in a stylized cinematic ballet without the usual grand sweep of period-drama locations. (AP)

Greta Garbo played it.  Vivien Leigh played it, after Gone with the Wind.  Now it’s Keira Knightley’s star turn as Anna Karenina – the beautiful and doomed 19th century Russian aristocrat made slave to passion, desire, adultery.

The great Leo Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina not as a potboiler, but as vivid instruction on the power of love, right and wrong, human splendor, and human flaws.  It raises what Russians call the Cursed Question:  How should I live?  Maybe David Patraeus should have read it.  Maybe he did.

This hour, On Point:  we’re rereading Anna Karenina.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post.

Andrew Kaufman, lecturer in Slavic languages and literature at the University of Virginia. He’s the author of Understanding Tolstoy.

Carol Appolonio, professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Bad literary adaptations are all alike, but every successful literary adaptation succeeds in its own way. The bad ones — or let’s just say the average ones, to spare the feelings of hard-working wig makers and dialect coaches — are undone by humility, by anxious obeisance to the cultural prestige of literature. The good ones succeed through hubris, through the arrogant assumption that a great novel is not a sacred artifact but rather a lump of interesting material to be shaped according to the filmmaker’s will.”

Seattle Times “Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin is a government official; an older man with, according to his creator, Leo Tolstoy, large tired eyes and a deliberate, ungraceful gait. “Without haste and without rest” is his motto, in a life so meticulously scheduled and compartmentalized that it comes as a shock to him that his wife, Anna, has eyes for another man. In Joe Wright’s lavishly theatrical screen version of “Anna Karenina” (opening Wednesday), he is played by a seemingly unlikely actor: Jude Law, the handsome Brit who burst on the scene with “Wilde” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and who not so long ago might have seemed the obvious choice for Anna’s dashing young lover, Vronsky.”

Video

Check out the official trailer for Anna Karenina.

Playlist

Overture by Dario Marianelli
Dance With Me by Dario Marianelli
Too Late by Dario Marianelli
Curtain by Dario Marianelli

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 3, 2016
Geri Taylor, camera in tow, at the Hoover Dam in 2014. Photography had been a sideline for 30 years, but now she could really devote time to it.
Courtesy, New York Times. MICHAEL KIRBY SMITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES.

We look at how one women prepares for the full onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

May 3, 2016
In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, fifteen-year-old Amorette Castillo has her sensor checked before starting a series of physical activities at a University of Southern California lab in Alhambra, Calif. Scientists across the country are playing with miniature gadgets and fitting them on the overweight and obese to get an unbiased glimpse into their exercise and eating habits. The cell phone for gathering data is on her hip. (AP Photo/Kim Johnson Flodin)

Weight loss lessons from the TV show “The Biggest Loser”. A study of the show’s contestants reveals why it’s so hard to keep off the weight we lose.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 2, 2016
ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016 AND THEREAFTER - In this April 19, 2016 photo, Laurie Millan, a para-professional and tutor, works with a student during an after school tutoring session at San Francisco International High School, in San Francisco. While some districts in numerous states have discouraged migrant minors from Central America from enrolling in their schools, the school accommodated its youths by rewriting young-adult novels at a basic level to spark the newcomers' interest in reading.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Is grit the secret sauce that drives success? More important than both talent and intellect? We’re talking the power and limits of grit.

 
May 2, 2016
A man walks on the rail tracks of a train station turned into a makeshift camp crowded by migrants and refugees, at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, Friday, April 29, 2016. Many thousands of migrants remain at the Greek border with Macedonia, hoping that the border crossing will reopen, allowing them to move north into central Europe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A top former US diplomat says refugees and tribalism are pulling Europe apart and that the US needs to get involved- to help Europe by helping refugees.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment
 
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment