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Cherry Orchard [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
An ensemble piece for grownups---- 10 Aug. 2005
By M. J. Ward - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Cherry Orchard is an ensemble piece about a country estate with a famous cherry orchard that is the pride of the province.

It is 1900 in Russia and amid the turmoil of social and political revolution, the family and servants at this little corner of the world are caught in a time warp. It is still Imperial Russia with all the privileges for the wealthy and landed gentry. Time goes by, life goes by, wealth disappears, but these people can't be bothered to notice.

Charlotte Rampling ("The Statement" 2003) is Madame Ranevskaya who returns, with her daughter, from exile in Paris to her estate to be with her lazy brother (Alan Bates, "Gosford Park"), her adopted daughter, and various servants, friends and freed peasants. Like the large old house, their way of life is rotting away. They are broke and the only thing that will save them from poverty is to sell the land, house and orchard to developers. But the are so besotted with the old life they cannot arouse themselves to make a decision on what to do. And of course, they lose it all.

The commentary throughout in the form of asides, laughter and outright contempt, is in the character of the servant Yasha (Gerard Butler,"Dear Frankie"). He serves Madam R, but he gossips about her profligate ways, has contempt for many in the family and takes advantage of the privileges they provide him, including a romp in the orchard with one of the housemaids (Melanie Lynskey,"Shooters"), who he then lectures on her immoral ways. It is a small part, but acts like a Greek chorus to comment on the others.

In the end, the doddering valet of Bates is left alone, locked into this decaying house, two old relics forgotten by the aristocrats and the new bourgeoisie. He says to himself "my life has gone by as though I have never lived. No strings - nothing." He leans back in the chair and dies. These people are so careless that no one makes sure the old man has really been taken to a hospital, although they all talk about it, and Yasha keeps assuring everyone he 'knows' he was picked up. So they all just ride off in their carriages and the woodsmen move into

the orchard and begin chopping down the cherry trees.

The beauty of the cinematography, costumes and piano score of Tchaikovsky music set a mood that is languid and only for those who relish the type of multi-character stories like the recent "Gosford Park." I loved it. 9/10
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful screen adaptation of the Chekov play 24 Nov. 2004
By C. Blair - Published on
Format: DVD
Two points to make:

First, this adaptation of the play for the screen is absolutely first rate. Some scenes were added at the beginning to help the viewer understand the subsequent action. The rest of this movie was mostly faithful to the Chekov text, although the director took full advantage of not being bound to a stage. The end result is mesmerizing. I really felt as if I were at close hand, watching the characters trying to make sense of their lives and losses. Yes, the action is slow moving, but in the best possible sense.

Second, I have rarely seen a movie where action and soundtrack merged as flawlessly as in "The Cherry Orchard". The incidental music is Tchaikovsky's "Meditation" and "The Seasons" and is played by Vladimir Ashkenazy. One word: superb.

This is a movie that rewards repeated viewing.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
By Guy De Federicis - Published on
Format: DVD
Maybe it helps to be unfamiliar with Chekov's work and therefore have no preconceived notions, but I found this British made drama to be absorbing and quietly powerful in depicting the sadness and futility of pre-revolution Russia. The story of a once wealthy family slowly accepting their loss of prestige and slendor blooms like a beautiful but lonely rose, and thankfully the depths of the drama never get very sloppy, sentimental, or even tragic.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Chekov's Prophetic Play brought to the screen 17 April 2004
By Justin Playfair - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a study of Russia at the turn of the 20th Century and focuses on the three typical classes of the period. The Russian Aristocracy, The rising Middle Class and the future of Revolutionary Russia are all implied in characters that gather at the estate of Ms. Rampling who celebrates amid the knowledge that the estate will be sold to pay debts. It is a long play and therefore a long movie(137 minutes). You have to be a literature fan to appreciate it and I would not suggest it to anyone who has not read the play or is not familiar with Russian history. Each character is longing for something beyond what is the current reality and it is a story of the death of a way of life and hints at change not necessarily for the better. It is beautifully filmed! It is also very quiet and you have to keep your ear tuned to the conversations. If you love Chekov, you will want to see it but you may or may not fall in love with it.
Excellent interpretation 22 July 2014
By Rachel Dale - Published on
Verified Purchase
I could watch Charlotte Rampling read the phone book. This interpretation of The Cherry Orchard does Chekhov justice. The pace is slow and heavy, as is often the case in Russian tales. At the same time, Rampling and the rest of the cast inhabit the characters in a way that makes them genuinely appealing (and it can be difficult to care about fading aristocracy). This film helped me feel closer to Chekhov than I have before.
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