In what might be termed Russo-Shakespearean noir, a ruthless woman's adulterous affair with a drifter sets in motion a chain-reaction of murder and deception in a remote village in 19th Century Mtsensk.
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Katerina Izmailova, a beautiful and uneducated merchant's wife, feels lonely and bored somewhere in the Russian provinces while her older husband is often away. Years go by in her childless marriage, without an outlet for her youthful energy, resulting in constant idleness and frustration. Along comes Sergei, an unscrupulous young worker who is happy to improve his lot by seducing Katerina as he has done with others before. Katerina falls for Sergei, and this love quickly becomes her only reason for living, turning to destructive passion and ultimately to tragedy for many.
Beautifully filmed story, with long pauses and music that successfully convey the physical context and the mood of the main characters. Excellent performances by Natalya Andrejchenko and the late Aleksandr Abdulov.
In several ways, this film touched me more than Petr Weigl's later adaptation (outstanding in many ways), although they are quite different in aim and approach.
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