Review: ‘Anastasia Slutskaya’

A stiffly acted and ploddingly paced historical drama about the gallant heroics of a 16th-century princess in the region now known as Byelorussia, "Anastasia Slutskaya" may generate interest on the global fest circuit because of its unfortunately timely focus on clash between Christian and Muslim forces. Pic also might draw auds through limited nontheatrical exhibition in North American communities with sizable Russian populations.

A stiffly acted and ploddingly paced historical drama about the gallant heroics of a 16th-century princess in the region now known as Byelorussia, “Anastasia Slutskaya” may generate interest on the global fest circuit because of its unfortunately timely focus on clash between Christian and Muslim forces. Pic also might draw auds through limited nontheatrical exhibition in North American communities with sizable Russian populations.

Cinematographer-turned-helmer Yuri Yelkhov attempts a heartfelt tribute to the revered title character, who led vastly outnumbered subjects against invading Tatar hordes while outfitted in custom-made armor. Trouble is, even though pic reportedly is among most expensive ever green-lit in Republic of Belarus, “Anastasia Slutskaya” lacks epic scope and sweeping battles scenes. Actors and action often appear to be chafing against budgetary constraints, even in beautifully lensed scenes. Svetlana Zelenkovskaya offers a technically proficient but charisma-free performance as Anastasia, beautiful princess who evolves into a sword-swinging warrior while commanding defense of Slutsk. Heroine appreciates help from a neighboring community of free-living pagans, depicted here as tree-hugging hippies. In stark contrast, Muslim invaders are portrayed as leering sadists who laugh at Christian icons and lust for Christian women.

Anastasia Slutskaya

Belarus

Production

A Belarusfilm production in association with the Republic of Belarus Ministry of Culture. Produced by Sergey Mosin. Directed by Yuri Yelkhov. Screenplay, Anatoly Delendic.

Crew

Camera (color), Tatiana Loginova; editor, Veta Koliadenko; music, Viktor Kopytco; art director, Valeriy Nazarov; costume designers, Elena Igrusha, Zhanna Kapuatnikova. Reviewed at WorldFest/Houston Film Festival, April 18, 2004. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Svetlana Zelenkovskaya, Gennady Davydko, Anatoliy Kot, Nikolai Kirichenko, Viacheslav Solodilov, Vitaliy Redko, Sergei Giushko.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading