Saturday, September 08, 2012

Doctor Zhivago at the Museum of the Moving Image

With its epic historical sweep and vast panoramas, Doctor Zhivago demands to be seen in a theater, making it an ideal choice for the See It Big! series at the Museum of the Moving Image. Nicely done, curators.

As you'd expect, all of the film's bravura moments (the trip through the Urals, the sea of flowers at Varykino, Zhivago's lonely trudge through the snow to Yuriatin, the ice palace) look better on screen; the real revelation is in the less famous scenes, like the cross-cutting between Komarovsky and Lara at dinner, surrounded in sumptuous reds, and Pasha's demonstration in the street, all blues and blacks, or young Zhivago staring out a frosted window at his mother's grave while skeletal tree branches tap ominously. Yes, the movie is a bit sappy and bumbling and starry-eyed at times, but few films better display the romance of cinema.

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