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Monday, January 18, 2010

APOKRIF / APOCRYPHA (2005)

This richly photographed tv bio-pic about Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a fictitious, if plausible, look at a visit the composer made to his sister’s country home not long after his disastrous marriage. (Antonina, the hysterical bride, remains in hot pursuit.) At first, Pyotr is richly welcomed by the town and his relatives, but before long his psychological discomfort infects all who enter his orbit. The normal routine of life detonates into a series of personal crises and miscommunication that play out like early Chekhov. (You’ll need some forbearance to deal with the enthusiastic brand of Russian acting Adel Al-Khadad lets his cast get away with.) The conceit works about half of the time, but there’s a lot of chaff amongst the wheat. At least, it’s not the usual portrait of a great man.

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