All The World’s A Stage: Anna Karenina

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I’m not a Keira Knightly fan, but unfortunately I am a fan of the films she is in! This weekend I watched Anna Karenina surprisingly knowing nothing about its premise – and proceeded to sit there for the whole 129 minutes with my jaw dropped wide open.

The film was simply mesmerising. Directed by Joe Wright [Atonement and Pride and Prejudice] it felt risky and ambitious, unconventionally shot against more than 100 lush theatre backdrops that slide up and down and in and out of every scene allowing the action to move fluidly through various settings.

The cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are rendered as elaborate stage sets; multiple glittering chandeliers hang dangerously low to the floor in ballrooms like a Vogue spread sprung to life, in lieu of privacy the characters make their way around props, past painted backdrops and backstage rigging and we watch in amazement as the players walk past the audience to wide open dreamscapes of wheat and snow and icy trains whipping through Chekovian blizzards.

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The story depicts the tragedy of aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina in Imperial Russia adapted from the 1873 novel by  Leo Tolstoy. Anna, who married exceedingly young and has one child with the highly respected Karenin [Jude Law], falls for the boyishly beautiful soldier Vronsky [Aaron Taylor-Johnson] and follows her infatuation in spite of all the social and familial upheaval it will inevitably bring. Taylor-Johnson’s character didn’t draw me in but Jude Law was excellent.

Despite the films stagey premise, it is lush and energetic, rich and heartbreaking and pulsates with feeling.

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Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at mail@rohiniwahi.com

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