The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition: The Light That Shines in the Darkness (Leo Tolstoy and Cinema)

___September 21 - October 30, 2016 
Yasnaya Polyana Gallery 

On September 21 at 16:00, you are welcome to the opening of the exhibition The Light That Shines in the Darkness (Leo Tolstoy and Cinema). The exhibition is organized by the Yasnaya Polyana Museum, the State Leo Tolstoy Museum (Moscow), and the State Central Cinema Museum as part of the Year of Russian Cinema.  

The goal of the exhibition is to follow the history of the interaction between two great cultural phenomena: Leo Tolstoy, and the art of cinema, in the process of their development, including instances of their drawing closer, drifting farther apart, rejection, seeking, etc.  It is also a story of the screen life of the literary heritage of Leo Tolstoy who, according to film experts, had an exceptional gift for the cinematographic “treatment” of space and time. One of the exhibition’s tasks is to show the work of filmmakers, and their understanding and presentation of Tolstoy’s characters on the screen, as well as the image of the writer himself.  

The exhibition shows materials related to the development of cinema, starting with the first attempts to film Tolstoy, through films based on his works and various interpretations of the last days of his life.

The display includes unique objects from the Tolstoy House at Yasnaya Polyana: a mimeograph machine presented to Tolstoy by Thomas Edison, a stereoscope and stereo photographs of the Tolstoy family, and the camera and photographic accessories of the author’s wife. All those technological innovations of the late 19th-early 20th centuries show, on the one hand, the Tolstoy family’s interest in the latest inventions, and on the other hand, speak to the development of cinema and the course it took from being a technical invention to cinematographic art. The exhibition contains materials showing the first cinematographers’ close attention to Leo Tolstoy; their interest followed from the great need of Tolstoy’s contemporaries for communication with the great writer. As for cinema, Tolstoy’s appraisal of it was quite controversial. In one of his articles, he mentioned it as a harmful social phenomenon. At the same time, at Yasnaya Polyana the visiting cards were carefully preserved of such people as George Meyer, a camera man of the Pathè Brothers company, and Carl Bulla, whose “amazing photographs” were admired in the Tolstoy family and who, among other cameramen, was to film Tolstoy’s funeral in November of 1910.

A kaleidoscope of film shots, beginning with the first silent screen version starring Vera Kholodnaya, Ivan Moskvin and Ivan Mozzhukhin, to films that have become classics – War and Peace by S. Bondarchuk, Anna Karenina by A. Zarkhi, and The Resurrection by M. Shveitser--to TV series of the 21st century, giving one the chance to feel the process of development of cinema. Thanks to the assistance of the film director Sergey Solovyov and the Cinema Museum, guests of the gallery will be able to see costumes from the Anna Karenina of 2009, worn in the film by Tatiana Drubich, Oleg Yankovsky, and Yaroslav Boiko.

The history of screen images of Tolstoy himself can be seen based on photos from the silent film Departure of the Grand Old Man, Sergey Gerasimov’s film Leo Tolstoy, and a foreign interpretation by Michael Hoffman, The Last Station. The costumes worn by Sergey Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova when they played the roles of Leo and Sophia Tolstoy permit us to feel how precise the director of the film tried to be not only in telling the story, but down to the smallest details of the characters’ clothes.  

Creating a film requires the enormous labor of a lot of people, many of whom remain behind the scenes. But sketches of costumes and scenery, directors’ scripts, and shooting sheets displayed at the exhibition can tell us about their work, too.

Thanks to the art of cinematography that was born in Tolstoy’s lifetime, the writer’s “living” image has been preserved for future generations. This footage is the highlight of the exhibition.

The work of the great Russian author continues to arouse filmmakers' interest, and every generation finds something new in his heritage and provides a contemporary interpretation of his works on screen.

The exhibition can be visited from Wednesday to Sunday, from 11:00 to 19:00. Cost of admission:  free of charge for visitors under 16; 15 roubles for a discounted ticket; and 30 rubles for a full-price ticket. Cost of a ticket for a guided tour: 30 rubles for discounted tickets and visitors under 16; and 45 rubles for full-price tickets. 

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