Chekhov

This is a scene from Uncle Vanya, a short play by Anton Chekhov. The play was published in 1897, however in this scene the dialogue might just as well have been written today, in its lamenting of environmental degredation and climate change.

The play was adapted to film, as Vanya on 42nd Street (1994).

This entry was posted by Bif.

10 thoughts on “Chekhov

  1. I’ve watched it with the sound off. Next, I’ll watch it again with the sound on. Then, I’ll watch it yet again while paying attention to the dialog.

    What’s her name is a pretty actress. Julia ____________?

  2. OK, why, at the end, does the older woman hit the man with her books/manuscripts? He was just being honest.

    What’s her name is still a pretty actress.

  3. Ok, he deserved it. Him and Julia. Thoreau used to talk about them. He came upon their names carved in the stone up at the view point. Henry loves Julia, it said. Henry brought the hammer; Julia brought the cold chisel.

  4. Yes that was Vanya’s mother giving him a whack. He’s such a lout and a bring-down. The play has no real objective other than to create a sullen mood and a lamenting of lost hopes. It begins and ends ambiguously. The goings on in a household of commoners. Vanya would like to get into Elena’s pants but she is not attainable, despite that she’s really no box of chocolates herself. They’ve all come up short in life and are destined to oblivion. This is Russia afterall. But still, the play is well written and the dialogue flows beautifully. The film adaptation is well acted too.

  5. Bif, thanks for the clarification. Here’s what I noted when the famous “tree hugger” leaves:

    To Elena (my Julia): a handshake, no kiss, not even a peck. Does he dispise her?

    To Uncle Vanya: a bear hug. Interesting, as if he really cared for the guy—not.

    To Vanya’s mother: kisses and hugs. He truly likes her.

    To the young women: Not a touch. She escorts him out, and asks about his plans. There is or was something going on there. The woman clearly loves him.

  6. Julianne Moore is the name you’re searching for Doom. Interestingly, my niece (the soccer jock who works for ESPN) is a dead wringer for her.

  7. Thank you EE. I first saw her in Jurassic Park II, I think. She’s a better actress than what she portrayed here. But maybe that’s the performance the director wanted?

  8. Doom actually Astrov (the “tree hugger” as you say) is a doctor and an alchoholic and in love with Elena (like everyone else), and although she does admit to having feelings for Astrov, she instead elects to staying married to the elderly university professor, Serebryakov, who has become washed up and decides to sell the house, and in doing so abandons his daughter (from his first marriage) Sonja as well as Vanja’s mother, and others. Sonja loves Astrov (as you have seen in the clip) but Astrov rejects her love, because she is “plain”. Meanwhile Serebryakov and Elena having sold the house and will depart for Scandinavia within a fortnight. Vanja attempts to kill Serebryakov with a gun and misses, then attempts suicide with morphine (that he stole from Astrov), but fails at this as well. The elderly university professor hangs on to the good-looking Elena (even though she’s shallow and lazy), and with their departure everyone else is sold out, abandoned and miserable, and the play ends in a funk of ill spirits and sublime meloncholoy.

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