Biographical drama, starring Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, telling the tale of Leo Tolstoy as his wife fights for both his love and his money.
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This film contains some scenes of a sexual nature.
You are 23.
Not an easy age for abstinence, is it?
Tolstoy does not approve of sexual relations. I know this.
He despises them, in fact.
Well, I don't mean to belabour the point, but...
last summer I arranged for a manservant who proceeded to ruin two housemaids, just like that.
-He was very upset.
-This would not be a problem with me. I'm a vegetarian.
I am celibate. I'm also a vegetarian.
My dear boy, if you were to become Tolstoy's private secretary, you would be given a great gift.
Vladimir Grigorevich, please know that I understand what a privilege this position presents.
But since becoming a Tolstoyan, I have become so eager to learn...
To discuss ideas, to perfect my very soul.
Well, we have a lot to do if we are to get his work to the people.
If we can encourage the spread of passive resistance - just think of it, Valentin.
Thousands of ordinary Russians
casting off centuries of political and spiritual oppression.
-In the name of truth and freedom.
-Truth and freedom.
Yes, yes. But, still, there are many, many enemies.
The Tsar's police.
You will be followed when you leave here,
and the Church will stop at nothing to bring him back into the fold.
And then, of course, there is the Countess.
Her dogged attachment to private property, her public criticism of our movement.
But the point is... He needs a man of your intellectual gifts around him.
Someone who understands his goals. And they still won't let me see him.
They keep me under house arrest.
I have another task for you, my dear.
I want you to keep a diary for me.
I need to know what goes on at Yasnaya Polyana.
You let me know who visits the house, any talk of the copyright
to his work, any contact with the Church - anything the countess says.
-She's very, very dangerous.
Godspeed, my boy.
-And remember what I said.
Write everything down.
-Good morning, Countess.
-Are you rolling?
It doesn't matter. If my heart stopped beating, I'd still go riding today.
-Your pulse is my responsibility.
-No. It's mine.
If you must ride, I insist you wear a coat. Even the sun is cold today.
Oh, this! This is impossible!
These people are parasites!
"The Countess Tolstoy is estranged from her husband. They barely speak."
And they gossip about us in Paris.
-"They do not share a similar view of religion or politics."
-You think that's inaccurate?
I think it's none of the world's bloody business. What are you doing?
Why do you write down everything we say? Don't do that.
Dushan Petrovich, you are scribbling again.
Oh, Leovochka, why do you insist on dressing like that?
-What do you mean, like what?
-Like the man who looks after sheep.
-It wasn't meant to offend you.
You're a count, for God's sake.
Darling, where are you going?
Riding with Sasha. Don't expect us for lunch.
-Lev Nikolayevich, you've forgotten your coat.
-Dushan, are you fretting?
Yes, because you refuse to look after yourself.
That was the end of us...
Telyatinki was created by Vladimir Grigorevich
as a centre for the movement. We're all equals here, you know.
As Tolstoy teaches us.
This is a place of freedom.
It's a beautiful day.
Yes, but we'll pay for it.
Tool shed is there. That's the meeting room, and this is the dormitory.
I found it!
You are expected at Yasnaya Polyana in the morning - first thing.
-You'll need to be on the road early. It's two hours away.
-I look forward to it.
You're lucky. We're all envious.
I'll see you in the morning.
If we are spared.
Emma, can you come? We need you in the house.
KNOCK ON DOOR
Brought you a glass of tea.
That's very kind of you.
It's your first day.
You met Sergeyenko?
Last night, yes.
What do you think?
I thought he seemed very sincere.
-Is that what you think?
-I think that...
I think I've just arrived.
-What was your name?
-Masha. But you should still say what you think.
I mean, not just about him.
-Like we all should.
Thank you for the tea.
He's a sorry, old, tight-arsed stick-in-the-mud but, yes, he's sincere.
Ah, excuse me.
You're the new secretary?
Yes. Valentin Fedorovich Bulgakov.
Papa is out.
You can wait upstairs in the library.
I am so glad you're here!
I'm so glad.
-God bless you.
-Pardon me. I'm mortified.
I sneeze sometimes when I get nervous.
-Now, Vladimir Grigorevich has already written about you at lengths.
I don't need that. What I do need is your help.
My manifesto against the government is hard work.
They commit their idiotic abuses faster than I can catalogue them.
And then there's the new book, the compendium.
Vladimir Grigorevich told me all about it.
He says that you say that all the world's religions share common truths. It's very exciting.
No, one truth. One single organizing principle.
-And can you guess what that is?
Love. Love. Simple.
Yeah, but I want to talk about you.
How are you?
And how was your journey? Come, sit down.
I was born on that sofa.
No, no, sit, sit.
Myself, my brother, my children -
five or six of them, at least.
Well, I've read your essays.
How's the work progressing?
My boy, what is it?
Oh, I've upset you in some way.
-Was it the sofa? I mean, it's only a sofa.
The sofa's wonderful.
I, I'm very happy.
You're very kind to me.
You see, I am no-one, and you are Lev Tolstoy.
And you ask me about my work!
I'll fetch you a glass of tea.
Because there's work for both of us to do, together!
This machine, it really is the most extraordinary thing.
Mama, these people have nothing.
No, it's not for lack of land that the muzhiks live in poverty,
it's because they have no willpower and they drink too much.
I am not suggesting they be given land.
Private property is the root of the problem.
We should be giving ours away.
-God. Giving it to whom?
-Yes, exactly. I mean, this is ridiculous.
You think because the peasants are poor, they're morally superior?
I believe that wealth corrupts us all. Yes, I do.
It's a keystone of the movement.
Oh, God, I know all about the movement.
If the peasants had money, they wouldn't
surround themselves, as we do, with footmen costing 10 roubles a month.
No, they'd spend it on drink and whores.
-Valentin Fedorovich. What do you think?
You think that 50 years from now, people will eat
while grown men walk around waiting on them hand and foot?
-That's good. Bless you.
Stop scribbling. I mean, you all think he's Christ, don't you?
He thinks he's Christ.
I don't believe Lev Nikolayevich is Christ.
-Christ is Christ, but...
I do believe he's one of the prophets. God speaks through him.
I recognise the cadence in his voice.
Oh, God, this is unbearable.
No wonder I feel lonely. I'm surrounded by morons.
Ma, you're being ridiculous.
Oh, am I? I have to sit here and listen to this talk of love and God and equality,
knowing all the time, full well, that Count Generosity here is about to give away everything we own.
Now, why do you keep going on about this?
Why do you think that we should profit from the work I'm doing now,
which is only meant for the sake of the people?
Stop writing now!
In defence of my gift, please let me demonstrate.
It's quite remarkable, really.
'In the same way now, a society of hunger, full of segregation...'
It's... It's your voice.
'But with my soul, that the existence...'
It's your voice!
It's wonderful, it's wonderful!
Another remarkable invention will supersede it. Please excuse me.
'No matter what all the learned men in the world say...'
Lev Nikolayevich is something of a Luddite, I fear.
'It is a crime. And one committed not once, but constantly.
'I knew that I, with my luxury, shall...'
That's very nice indeed.
Do your parents often speak to each other so bluntly?
Mama doesn't understand my father's goals.
Not since his work as a novelist became secondary.
His commitment to the spiritual life offends her.
They've fought about it for years.
Well, I'm sure she means well by it.
I see a fine young man before me. Clear eyes, nice features,
rather handsome in a peculiar sort of a way.
Thank you, Countess.
Oh, please, call me Sofya Andreyevna.
We don't stand on formality here, as you may have noticed.
No, no. So many young men nowadays spoil their good looks with loose living, but you,
oh, you're a real Tolstoyan, I can tell that.
Well, thank you. I have to say, I admire your husband immensely.
Oh, very good. Excellent. He likes that.
Well, his ideas are beautiful.
Social justice, the very concept...
Yes, he's very grateful for the help you've been giving him. He told me that himself.
I think he's rather surprised that a young man like you can be quite so diligent.
When he was your age, he was whoring in the Caucasus.
Couldn't get enough of it.
Yes, he wrote all about it.
He even gave me a copy, so I could read all the details.
-Would you like some more jam?
-Yes, thank you.
-Have you read War And Peace?
-Yes, many times.
You know, when Lev was writing it...
Oh, this was ages ago, long before Chertkov created that monstrosity
at Telyatinki over all that fake religion and revolutionary nonsense.
-What do you think of Chertkov, by the way?
-Well, I think that he's...
I think he's given me a wonderful opportunity.
Yes, but you can see what a pompous fool he is,
what a self-serving puritanical idiot?
-It's been very pleasant since he's been locked away in his house.
So, anyway, when he was writing it, in the mid-60s, he used to bring me pages to copy every day,
cos I was the only one who could understand his handwriting or his notes.
Do you know, I copied out War And Peace six times?
I could understand his intentions, too.
So every afternoon, we'd have tea and we'd discuss changes.
And I'd say to him, "Natasha wouldn't speak to Prince Andrei like that. No woman would."
Or, "Pierre's too simple here.
"He's not an idiot." You know, things like that.
But I don't count any more.
You must help me, Vladimir Fedorovich.
-Oh, Valentin Fedorovich.
I only want what's best for my husband and my family.
If it was for me alone, I could tolerate the situation,
but I cannot stand by while they steal my children's inheritance.
Well, I don't believe anybody wants to do that.
-Theft goes against the very principles of Tolstoy thought.
-I have a little gift for you.
It's a diary. You know, everyone should always keep a diary.
-Yes, it's a very popular activity around here.
-You're teasing us.
But I trust you'll write the truth.
Well, that may not be so easy.
Nonsense. You've been listening to your friends at Telyatinki.
No, no, just write what you see around you.
What you see.
You're finished for the day?
Yes, he didn't need me this afternoon.
I thought I'd come back here and lend a hand.
You know, Lev Nikolayevich considers himself a liberal,
but he doesn't approve of women doing physical labour.
Don't you find that reactionary?
No. I find it sweet.
I find you reactionary.
What do you talk about when you're with him?
-Why are you blushing?
We talk about me.
-Yes. He wants to know about my family, my upbringing.
My connection to God and my relations with women.
Ooh, what relations are these?
All right, it's all right.
I had a lover before I came here.
He was headmaster of the school where I taught.
He was married.
He was happily married.
It was difficult. We could make love only at school.
-In the gymnasium,
after the girls had gone.
I see. I see.
Oh, there you are.
-Have I upset you?
No, I find you... I-I appreciate your frankness.
-But you disapprove of me?
-I see it in your eyes.
-Not at all.
No. I think sexual behaviour and...
intercourse, how two men, or two women,
or men and women, animals,
combine their physical parts, I find it completely neutral.
Listen to you.
You're a prig.
You're just like Sergeyenko. I mean, why else would they have hired you?
-That's not fair.
-I don't care if it's fair. It's true.
-Do as you like.
You forgot your horse.
I had a dream last night about a Tartar girl I knew in the war.
A girl who died?
No, no, no. Just a girl I had sexual intercourse with.
Sometimes, we did it twice a day.
God bless you. I've never forgotten our time together.
The positions of our bodies, and the taste of her.
It was a long time ago.
-Really, you mustn't torture yourself.
You are a virgin, aren't you?!
Well, I try to be...
To what, to be a good Tolstoyan?
Let me assure you that I'm not a very good Tolstoyan myself.
You should think twice before asking my advice, on anything!
Kalya was her name.
She's an old woman now.
White hair, old body, like me.
Hardly remember my name, I suspect.
She may even be dead.
Do you think all that meant something?
-What do you mean?
-Well, I mean, that little romance -
was there some meaning to it?
Well, I think you would say... I mean, I think I've read where you say that
the physical body is not real. That it's all an illusion.
I say a lot of things. But what do you say?
What do you think?
I don't know.
I don't know either.
Oh, smell that.
-Scent gets stronger when the sun goes down.
He's free! He's free!
He's coming back!
-He has come to try again to persuade your father
to change the will, to give the copyright as a gift to humanity. The reptile.
Papa's not in his right mind. He can't defend himself against these thieves.
You're a fine son, my darling.
None of this fake chastity or made-up religion.
I wish all my children had turned out like you.
Vladimir Grigorevich, what a surprise!
I'm happy to see you.
And I'm happy to make you happy.
Come, come, my friend.
Now, we have a great deal to talk about.
I'm happy to have a moment alone with you. There seems to be some confusion.
-What do you mean?
-Well, you send me never-ending commentary on Tolstoy's
writing, and that's all very interesting, but not very useful.
See, I need to know what goes on with Sofya Andreyevna.
You must see by now how committed she is to undermining her husband's best intentions?
It's not quite so obvious to me.
The woman understands nothing of what we're doing.
We simply want to distribute Tolstoy's writing to the widest audience possible.
I can only be of limited use to the master if I don't know what's going on.
The survival of our movement depends upon it.
-You value our work?
The ideals we share?
It's why I'm here.
-Good morning, darling.
Do you mind if I join you?
No, of course, of course, my dear.
You know, it's...
-It's quite insane, my darling, how people are making fun of you.
-What are you talking about?
Even the muzhiks. I heard them laughing about it in the horse barn.
Laughing about what?
About the fact that you've developed a senile crush on a fat, middle-aged flatterer.
Your passion for Chertkov has become a standing joke.
I have a great affection for Vladimir Grigorevich.
-Let them laugh if they find it so amusing.
-It's not amusing, darling.
It's sick. It's not normal.
I mean, you hang on his every word.
We have a great deal in common.
You have nothing in common!
You are a genius, and he is a sycophant and a pervert.
Because he understands what I'm trying to do?
-Because he tries to help me accomplish it?
-He's just using you.
You just can't seem to see it.
This is absolute nonsense.
-That bald, obese, man...
-It is impossible for you not to distract me!
Now, leave me alone, for God's sake.
You're like a spoiled child.
Do you love me, Leovochka?
Of course I do.
Then why do you betray me like this?
Why do you say that?
Because of the will.
The new will.
There's no new will.
-Does Chertkov have it?
-There is no new will.
-That's why he's here, isn't it?
You talk about it, you and your boyfriend. You have no heart for the people who really love you.
You'd rather be seduced by charlatans and deluded by flatterers, all in the name of love.
You can't even love your own children. You can't even love me.
-Where is it?
-There is no new will!
-Then promise me there never will be.
I have told you the truth.
Now let me work.
I'll go to the station and I'll throw myself under a train.
Madam Tolstoy becomes Anna Karenina.
See how the press will like that.
This is unbearable. You don't need a husband, you need a Greek chorus!
Move your book.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
-Is it OK?
What is it?
What is it?
You really are a virgin?
Oh, no, no, no. I'm teasing, I'm teasing!
-It was wonderful.
-I could do it again.
-Let me try again.
-It was wonderful.
-Yes. Hold me.
-That's good. Pull it, your side.
-Keep it tight.
That's it, stretch it so we can read it.
Why did you come here, Masha?
What do you mean? What do you mean?
You don't follow any of the rules here.
Because it's not about rules.
-Not for Tolstoy, anyway.
-What is it?
-Open the door.
Yes, well, Lev Nikolayevich is downstairs. He wants to see you.
Tell Lev Nikolayevich I'll...
-..be down in a moment.
And tell Maria Filipovna we could use another hand in the kitchen.
If I see her, I will.
If you see her, yes.
If you're going to behave like rabbits, you should go live in the woods.
I'll go first.
Give me five minutes, yes?
Come on. That's a boy!
That's my boy.
You too, come on.
You're wonderful, you're just wonderful, wonderful.
And you too, you too.
Look at the love in him.
..Jesus, suffering the children.
-I know, an old man's a very ugly thing!
Hey, my boy!
Hey! Come and kiss me!
And who's this? Maria Filipovna!
Oh, you're both looking so well.
-Life here obviously agrees with you.
God bless you, boy. What are you nervous about now?
Sit down. Sit down.
Oh, Masha, my dear.
Valentin tells me that you are the great treasure of Telyatinki.
He claims you're a very gifted teacher!
We're happy to have you with us.
-What are you doing?
-What do you mean?
You just killed a living thing.
-Do you have something to say?
-It's absurd, that's all.
-What are you saying?
I'm sorry, but it's a mosquito.
Forgive him. He can't help it. He's a much better Tolstoyan than I am.
That's not the message we want to send.
Please, have your seat.
Papa - from Mother, "Nerves dreadful, stop. Insomnia, stop.
"Pulse 100, stop. Please come home."
..are you ill?
Or what is it?
Oh, I'm much better, now you're here.
It's no good, you know, all this.
You frightened everyone.
Really? No, I don't believe you.
I'm your little bird. You know the sounds I make.
Then that was some sort of love call, I suppose?
Brought you back to me.
Why, why, why do you do it?!
We live in the country, you insist on making it an opera house -
-What's wrong with a little peace now and then?
-Look at me!
This is who I am.
This is what you married.
We may be older, maybe we're old,
but I'm still your little chicken.
-And you're still my big cock.
-Oh, for pity's sake!
Let me make you crow!
Oh, come on, let me make you sing.
No! No, no, no!
Let me make you sing!
-Do you love me?
-I do, I do, I do.
I want you to love me.
You wouldn't look at me.
It was difficult, in front of the others...
It wasn't difficult in your bed. When it was just you and me in front of God.
-I wasn't aware of God.
-I made you forget God?
Yes. Only for a moment.
You forgot your rules and you remembered love.
You make it sound very simple.
It is simple. I mean, what we did is what men and women do.
It's what they have done, it's what they'll continue doing.
We touched each other.
When we stayed close together, something passed between us.
And that's a betrayal of what?
Nothing. But you're afraid.
All your ideas.
She wants to question you about the new will.
But how does she even know it exists?
Well, she claims that Lev Nikolayevich said she could look at the draft.
Well, he is obviously not thinking clearly.
Now we have to contend with her petty grasping.
-It doesn't seem that petty to me.
-I beg your pardon?
He's her entire life. The work, in her mind, is theirs, together.
And you're her advocate? You have been taken in by her celebrity. I was worried about this.
I'm simply talking about their history.
-We have to see her.
Act as if nothing has happened.
Nothing has happened.
At last, you honour us with a visit.
Well, I'm curious to see how things are progressing here at Telyatinki.
-What is it?
-Your moustache is...
No, it's just a problem with the wax.
Vladimir Grigorevich, let me come straight to the point.
I don't wish to be your enemy.
On the contrary, I am delighted that my husband has found a friend who understands and shares his ideals.
I just want what's reasonable.
I want an opportunity to evaluate the new will.
If you agree, then I'm sure we can be friends.
You are very kind, Sofya Andreyevna,
but I can't help you.
Not without specific instructions from your husband.
Oh, he has agreed. Hasn't he, Valentin?
No witness you produce can change my position, I'm afraid.
But I will, of course, speak to Lev Nikolayevich at the first opportunity.
I want us to be friends too, Sofya.
Lev Nikolayevich is the most valuable thing in the world, to both of us.
We should endeavour to set things right between us. Give him peace.
Let him work.
Valentin Fedorovich, would you accompany me to the house, please?
I'll accompany the countess back to the house and be back in time for supper.
Masha will be overjoyed.
Valentin Fedorovich, you've been keeping something from me.
You can tell me anything, Valentin.
I love a romance.
-It's nothing. Really, it's nothing.
-A young woman in your life is nothing?
-Masha is a friend.
A very... A very good friend.
See, you forget that I'm an experienced reader, so I can read your face, every letter.
It's beautifully clear.
Do you love her?
-I think perhaps I do.
It's not something they'd understand, these so-called disciples of my husband's.
They've never understood a word he's ever written.
What do they know about love?
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry! Did I scare you? Are you all right?
-I'm sorry. I got back as soon as I could.
It was a strange day. Lev Nikolayevich is...
I love to listen to him talk, but today I could barely concentrate.
All I could think about was you.
-I think I've confused you.
-I think I've confused us both.
I was stupid. I was afraid, but I'm not afraid anymore.
What are you...?
I love you, Masha.
Masha! Masha! I have...
In my heart,
I have committed the act of copulation many times!
Please know it was never like it was with you.
I'll wait for you, then.
-Give me this. What?!
What are you laughing at?
-IN AN AMERICAN ACCENT:
-It's a problem with the wax!
I think I look just like him!
-Well, of course I am.
Love and be loved. That's the only reality there is in the world.
He said that?
Tolstoy said it, but I'm saying it.
I'm saying it, Masha, because you make me know it.
I look into your eyes, I can see the future.
I think you're the bravest person I've ever met.
You amaze me.
You believe more than I know how to.
I love you.
You're pure, Valya.
You're what I came here to find.
Ivan, who's wearing that awful perfume?
I understand this is difficult. It is a delicate situation.
-This must be discussed now.
It cannot wait any longer.
Whatever happens, Mother mustn't find out.
I hate to say it, but the Countess has become more and more dangerous.
Oh, not dangerous. She's concerned for the welfare of the family.
And we're concerned with the welfare of mankind.
-You've been more than reasonable.
Of course you have.
She already controls the income from your property.
Listen to him. He has our best interests at heart.
We are speaking only of the rights to your words, your ideas.
With all love and respect,
the countess is too interested in making a profit from your work.
She's my wife. She's part of me. We've been together all these years.
But you're more than a husband and father. She must understand that.
The best interests of the people are one with your own. You belong to them.
She won't. She'll never understand.
She's unstable. I wonder if she isn't ill.
-It's sadly more than probable.
-I know it's hard, Papa, but you must be realistic.
Her behaviour is extremely alarming.
Do you truly think she is fit to control the final disposition of this will?
-Well, I don't... I don't...
-How dare... Argh!
What are you doing?!
You're all plotting against me! In my own house, too!
I bear you 13 children.
How can you betray me like this?
Somebody, help me up.
Go ahead. Go ahead.
Why don't you give everything we've got to him?
Your fat little catamite!
"What will it be, my dearest darling, my Vladimir Grigorevich?
"My wife's heart on a platter? Her kidneys, with salt?"
"But of course, my dear Chertkov.
"Whatever pleases you.
"The china, the estate, permanent copyright on anything I've ever written? Anything for you, my love!"
-Give that to me.
-Give it to me, you little weasel!
-Give it to me!
Can I not have some...? Can I not have some...?
You'll kill him, Mama. Well, that's what you want, isn't it?
You want him to die!
It's all right, it's all right. Let's get him downstairs.
You don't deceive me for one moment.
I know exactly what you're doing.
I want to see the will.
It is my right as his wife in the sight of God.
What are you afraid of?
I'm afraid of you.
The press are bloodthirsty, Sofya. Had I wished, I could have demolished you.
-You make it easy.
-Then tell them anything you want. Go ahead. Ruin us!
I have too much respect for Lev Nikolayevich! You're lucky!
Why can't my husband see you for what you are?
If I had a wife like you, I would've blown my brains out!
Or gone to America.
EPIC OPERA PLAYS
I hope you're feeling better.
Do you like the opera?
I'm very sorry...about everything.
This aria is so beautiful.
It's about a woman who's been abandoned by the man she loves.
Everyone finds that very moving...in the opera.
THE DOOR OPENS
Our life together has become intolerable.
Sit down, Valentin.
-Really, I'm expected at Telyatinki.
-No, please. Come, enjoy your dinner.
We've just had a disagreement, like all married couples.
Despite good cause for it,
I have never stopped loving you.
-But God knows you don't make it easy.
Why should it be easy?
I am the work of your life, you the work of mine. That's what love is.
-I should go.
-No, sit down.
So, that's what love is, eh?
-Does that surprise you, boy?
-I thought it might be a touch quieter, but...
BOTH: Bless you.
He's right, though.
If we can't live a decent,
quiet life, if I can't work
and find some peace, then I shall go away.
-Not to Chertkov, but I shall go.
-Dushan says you're killing me!
Then go! Go anywhere you please!
Go anywhere you please!
I hate you!
I hate what you've become!
SHE STRUGGLES FOR BREATH
Is she all right?
-Is she all right?
Sofya, are you all right? Open your eyes. Open your eyes.
Oh, my back! Oh... Oh... Oh, my back!
You're lying on a fork. Sit up and you'll improve markedly.
If you'll be good enough to take her upstairs.
It was terrible there today.
They loved each other so much, I'm sure of it, I'm sure they do, but...
You see what it becomes, and you just wish that you could...
Is something the matter?
I'm going back to Moscow.
Chertkov spoke with me this afternoon.
He said I could be more useful there.
-Which means he's punishing us.
He's punishing me.
He's punishing me for befriending Sofya Andreyevna.
This is Chertkov.
We've both disappointed him, but I don't care.
I don't care either, but you can't leave. I'm going to talk to him.
-I'm going to make him make you stay.
-No. I want to go.
I'm leaving the movement.
Sit down, sit down.
-You can't leave Tolstoy.
-You can't leave.
-No, I'm not.
-When I read his confession, it moved me, Valya.
When he was searching for freedom.
Freedom from anger, freedom from attachment,
freedom from all the superstition and the nonsense of the church.
I mean, it moved me so much.
And that's what I thought it would be about.
I mean, isn't that what it's about?
Freedom and love?
They mix it all up.
Come with me.
I'm going to my room.
Masha, please. I can't.
I need you.
I know you do.
What was it? I don't remember.
Was it your...?
No, no, no.
You rest now.
-Good afternoon, Lev Nikolayevich.
-Remember that this will ensure that your complete works will live in the public domain.
Your works are the birthright of the Russian people.
And now they will possess them forever.
I need a pen.
Oh, of course, of course.
-I don't seem to have a pen.
-You're a secretary.
How can you not have a pen?
He's a secretary, too. Ask him.
-Valentin Fedorovich, do you have a pen?
Yes. Yes, I have a pen.
Are you all right?
I'm a conspirator.
-Lev Nikolayevich, may I ask you a question that has nothing to do with the work?
-Of course, my dear.
Do you love your wife?
You see, when I was courting Sofya, she was so young and so pure,
it just seemed impossible that I could ever have her.
I didn't want to tell her how I felt, and yet...
I wanted to tell her nothing else.
So I wrote down a string of letters, and asked her if she would decipher them.
At first, she was completely confused and thought it was some sort of game.
So I gave her a clue. One clue.
"The first two Ys...",
I said, "..stand for, 'Your youth'",
and that was all I said.
And then... the most miraculous thing happened.
She simply spoke the phrase.
"Your youth and your desire for happiness
"cruelly remind me of my age, and the impossibility of happiness for me."
The entire phrase, my phrase.
As if she'd read my mind.
In that moment, we both knew we would always be together.
And for the first few years,
we were incredibly, terrifyingly...
And now this.
-I'm leaving Telyatinki.
I'm going to Moscow.
She's leading you around by the nose, my boy.
-Look, you say that the movement is about love.
-Which it is.
The love that he teaches us.
-The love that binds all mankind together.
-I've never met mankind.
I've only ever met men or women.
-Imperfect men, imperfect women.
But Lev Nikolayevich also teaches us that love cannot be weak-minded.
It cannot be stupid.
Go. We will miss you.
Our naive sentimentalist.
Kashnikov wants to buy the rights to your work after your death.
Then I shall try and die as soon as is convenient.
Oh, come on, don't be silly.
Come, look. Look, he has offered one million rubles.
How can you not be pleased?
I don't write for publishers, I write for people.
-Well, where are you going?
-Valentin is in the library.
-He wants to see me.
Fine, go ahead and let your wretched family starve.
I don't see anyone starving in this house.
On the contrary,
our privilege revolts me.
Well, you're the first to the trough!
Always have been.
What is it, my boy? You look unhappy.
What do you want to tell me?
What are you doing?
How could you do this to me?
You're not well.
You just hurt me again and again.
You tear pieces off me until there's nothing left.
I don't know who I am any more.
I read your diary.
I know what you've done.
You behave like this, I have no choice.
Now give me the gun.
-Give me the gun, please.
I'd like you to stay here tonight.
Yes, of course.
-Valentin, get up.
Pack essentials only.
Nothing that isn't absolutely necessary.
Please, we must hurry.
-Where will you go?
-Your coat, Papa.
We don't need a plan, we just go.
A lantern, I think. It's very dark tonight.
And the apparatus for giving an enema.
-Dushan, you all right?
-Please, go steady.
-You all right?
He's changed his mind.
He's going back to the house.
Do you want to go back?
This life is behind me now.
-Help me up.
-Yes, of course.
Give this to Sofya.
-Be well, be well.
Don't cry, don't cry.
I'll send for you when I can.
-He's gone. For good?
-I think so, yes.
Oh, Sasha, darling, I know you know where your father is.
So, darling, please, this is not a time to play games, please?
Countess, I have this for you.
'My position in the house has become intolerable.
'What I'm doing now is what people have commonly done,
'leave their worldly life behind to spend their last days in peace and solitude.'
THE COUNTESS SCREAMS
-'Please understand this, and don't come after me, even if you find out where I am.
'Your coming would only make our position worse, and would not alter my decision.'
'I beg you to forgive me for everything I've done to you,
'just as I forgive you with all my soul for everything you've done to me.'
I have her!
Here! Here! Take her! Take her!
Ivan, go to the house. Get a doctor, quickly, quickly! Turn her.
Turn her over, come on. Oh, God!
Ivan, go to the station. Find out which train he took.
For God's sake!
Come, come. Let's get you to bed. Ready, and up. There we...
She's exhausted herself.
She slept for nearly four hours.
Well, I'm glad she can sleep. The pain subsides a little.
The noise subsides a little.
KNOCK ON DOOR
A message, miss.
-From your father.
'My darling Sasha, I have stopped to rest at Shamardino.
'I'll wait for you to join me here.
'Please ask Valentin to stay and look after your mother.
'When you arrive,
'we'll continue the journey south together. Your loving father.'
-They've all gone.
Aaw! You're writing to your girl.
Oh, how lovely.
I'm not sure she is my girl.
-But you believe you'll see her again?
-I very much hope so.
I know you know where he is, Valentin.
I won't ask you to betray his trust.
I just need you to go to him. I do.
I have to see him. I have to talk to him.
I won't make a scene. You can promise him that.
I just want to see him.
"Tolstoy abandons home, whereabouts unknown.
"The sage of Yasnaya Polyana takes flight."
I hope it's not too much for him.
Where are we?
It's all right. Everything's fine.
Let me take your temperature. Come on.
Be mindful of these steps.
We've come to the end of the world.
This is the station master.
He's very kindly said we may have his home for as long as we want it.
-There are no inns nearby, so we are lucky.
-Yes, very lucky.
You'll be comfortable here, Papa.
The rest of us, we'll find cots, or sleep in the station.
-And then we'll be on our way.
-Yes. Yes, Papa. We'll be on our way.
KNOCKS ON GLASS
I'd like to send a telegram, please.
At Astapovo. Stop.
Tolstoy ill. Stop.
You can send it to Countess Sofya Andreyevna Tolstoya,
Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Province.
(Please come back. Please come back.)
Concern for Lev Nikolayevich's health has been expressed
by people as diverse as Mr Henry James and Mr Joseph Conrad.
Lev Nikolayevich's temperature currently stands
at 40 degrees Celsius, that is 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
His blood pressure, which is hypertonic, is 180 over 100.
However, it should be added,
Lev Nikolayevich's manner and mental acuity is as great as ever...
-Where is he? Take me to him.
He left. It's astonishing. He actually finally left.
He was very sick, too sick to travel.
It's a triumph for the movement.
He looks so small.
Oh, it's you.
My dear friend.
What is all of this?
Well, I needed to see you.
COUGHS We have so much to do.
Have you seen Sofya?
I've made a point not to.
I don't know when she'll come, but she'll come. I know that.
And we'll be ready.
Ready for what?
I'm sorry, but I'm afraid it's time for your enema.
Don't apologise, my friend.
Your enemas have become the news of the world.
Good morning, gentlemen.
I'm sure you will all be as relieved as I am
that Lev Nikolayevich slept a relatively peaceful night.
His temperature remains 40 degrees Celsius.
And his blood pressure is also hypertonic.
That having been said, however,
his mind remains agile and full of fortitude.
-It's the countess!
-Of course, we have to remember...
-Is she here?
-It's the countess.
-Where is she?
-It is the countess!
-Which car is it?
She's coming this way.
Not before she stops to tell them lies, catalogue my atrocities.
Let me talk to her.
-I want to see my husband.
I want to see him now!
I want to see him, please.
-I'm not sure now is the right time, Countess.
-Yes, it is.
It's the right time for me.
It might be a better idea, countess, I think, if you waited...
He only left because of you. Countess!
I want to see my husband.
He's too weak to see you, Mother.
He's not too weak to see you. Not too weak to see that...
Do you really want to do this here?
So I am the leper outside the gate,
while he sleeps with the devil himself.
Chertkov is here because Father asked him to be here.
-Is that true?
Well, did you tell him that I nearly drowned in the pond?
We didn't need to. It's been in all the papers.
-Please, let me take you back.
-What did he say?
He said that if you killed yourself, he'd be upset.
He'd be "upset"?!
But he could not have acted other than he did.
I want to see him.
-He's my husband. He's not your husband.
And you are a stonehearted bitch of a daughter.
I lost five children! Why couldn't one of them have been you?!
(Are you finished?)
Valentin, would you take me back, please?
Yes, of course.
Please, make way. Make way. Make way!
(I've behaved rather badly, haven't I?)
No, countess. No, don't worry.
Here. For you.
-Is this clean?
-Of course it's clean.
Dushan, what's the matter?
Listen to him.
I'm supposed to be a doctor, for God's sake.
What is it?
What is it?
She's come, hasn't she?
-You're imagining things.
Where is your mother?
She's at home.
If she wants to see me, I can't refuse her.
Is she going to come here?
There's no way to...
There's no way to what?
I'd like to send another telegram, please.
At Astapovo. Stop.
Tolstoy ill. Stop.
Heartbreaking. Stop. Please come.
You can send it to Masha... Maria Filipovna Melinova.
-You lied to him!
-Keep your voice down.
He wants to see her. You heard him say it.
-And what exactly do you think she'll bring him?
-I don't know.
They've been married for 48 years.
I'll tell you what she'll bring. Vanity, fuss, and noise.
-She promised me she would not...
-Promised you what? What, what?
You've seen her at close quarters, my boy.
Do you think she's capable of restraining herself from acting like a mad woman?
They have a life together. Why deny that?
You have become a victim of her romantic nonsense.
And you wilfully forget that she wants to destroy everything we do.
She travels here with that unctuous little priest.
-We'll keep the priest away.
-These people are vultures, Valentin.
And they wait to descend till the very last moment,
to welcome him back to the Church, this is their fantasy.
-Keep the priest away.
-A deathbed recantation.
Do you have any idea the damage that that will do?
Everything that he has dreamed of,
everything that we have worked for will be gone.
A simple, noble death,
is what we want.
That's what he wants.
No, you want to create an icon.
And you want people to kneel in front of an image that you create.
But he doesn't want that. He never has wanted that.
It'll give him no peace.
He wants to see her. Let her come.
I will do everything in my power to prevent that.
That image you want to create,
it's going to look more like you than him.
It can't be right. His fever is down.
But, his pulse,
you see, it's...
Shall I call her?
He wouldn't know who she is anyway.
Bring a coat. It's cold.
Countess. Countess, could you give me some information?
Countess, is he dying?
Is he dead?
Leovochka! Leovochka, my darling.
Oh, my darling, please forgive me, please!
I'm a fool. I'm a selfish woman, but I love you, darling.
Please believe me.
Please, please understand me,
and please forgive my wickedness and my badness.
-Am I shouting?
-You have to control yourself.
Yes. Yes, I will.
You don't speak, but I hear you.
Do you love me, Leovochka?
I never stopped, my little bird.
And you will never stop?
Nor ever leave me again.
No, never again. Good.
Let's go home.
GASPS AND SPLUTTERS
Ten minutes after six in the morning...
..a great soul passed from our world.
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy...
-I'm sorry, but he is gone.
But I came for you, Valya.
I came for you too.
-God go with you, Sofya Andreyevna.
-God bless you!
We'll pray for you, Countess!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Biographical drama. Young Valentin Bulgakov gains a post as personal assistant to Leo Tolstoy through Chertkov, the leader of the Tolstoyan movement who attempt to promote Tolstoy's views on world peace and pacifism throughout the world. Tolstoy, caring little for worldly goods, lives on his estate among his disciples as founder of the movement, writing little. He wants to donate his estate and publishing rights to the people, but his beloved wife Countess Sofya does not want their children, or herself, to be disinherited and fights him and the machiavellian Chertkov as much for Tolstoy's love as for his money.