ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy
Status: November 9, 2012.
Who's involved: Joe Wright directing an adaptation by Tom Stoppard. Starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfayden and many more.
Why you should read the book first: When people talk about capital ‘L’ Literature, this is the novel they’re talking about. It’s Russian Literature that even other Russian Literature alludes to with references in works by Chekhov, Bulgakov and Nobokov. The innovative tome may seem like a daunting task with eight thick parts to conquer, but at least you get to hold it over everybody’s head when you’re finished. And reading the story of Anna Karenina - and also Konstantin ‘Kostya’ Levin - before watching Wright’s film will not only help you keep your Vronskys and Oblonskys, Myagkayas and Vronskayas straight, but give you the opportunity to fully explore the layered thematic implications of the arguably un-adaptable novel as well as put the events you’re to see in proper context. The film’s talent will likely deliver an enjoyable version of Anna Karenina, but it cannot help but pale in comparison to the virtues of the full text. Stoppard is a genius, but even he cannot condense the classic into a two (and a half) hour movie and do it justice. I imagine it will be heavy on the Anna and light on the Levin.
More on the film adaptation of Anna Karenina.

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