- Film Festival
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ANNA KARENINA is acclaimed director Joe Wright’s (Atonement) bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, stirringly adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s great novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The timeless story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, while illuminating the lavish society that was imperial Russia. The time is 1874. Vibrant and beautiful, Anna Karenina (Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice) has what any of her contemporaries would aspire to; she is the wife of Karenin (Academy Award nominess Jude Law, The Talented Mr. Ripley), a high-ranking government official to whom she has borne a son, and her social standing in St. Petersburg could scarcely be higher. She journeys to Moscow after a letter from her philandering brother Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen, Frost/Nixon) arrives, asking for Anna to come and help save his marriage to Dolly (Kelly Macdonald, No Country for Old Men). En route, Anna makes the acquaintance of Countess Vronsky (Olivia Williams, Hanna), who is then met at the train station by her son, the dashing cavalry officer Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Savages). When Anna is introduced to Vronsky, there is a mutual spark of instant attraction that cannot – and will not – be ignored. The Moscow household is also visited by Oblonsky’s best friend Levin (Domhnall Gleeson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), an overly sensitive and compassionate landowner. Levin is in love with Dolly’s younger sister Kitty (Alicia Vikander). Inopportunely, he proposes to Kitty but she is infatuated with Vronsky. Devastated, Levin returns to his Pokrovskoe estate and throws himself into farm work. Kitty herself is heartbroken when, at a grand ball, Vronsky only has eyes for Anna and the married woman reciprocates the younger man’s interest. Anna struggles to regain her equilibrium by rushing home to St. Petersburg, where Vronsky follows her. She attempts to resume her familial routine, but is consumed by thoughts of Vronsky. A passionate affair ensues, which scandalizes St. Petersburg society. Karenina is placed in an untenable position and is forced to give his wife an ultimatum. In attempting to attain happiness, the decisions Anna makes pierce the veneer of an image-obsessed society, reverberating with romantic and tragic consequences that dramatically change her and the lives of all around her.