Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Idiot starting with Akira Kurosawa's Hakuchi, 1951

The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky,will be the 6th novel of his oeuvre that I've had the pleasure of reading. The previous works I have read have been all encompassing and gripping, whole months have slipped by under the heady cloud of Dostoevskian conjuring's, but each book has been closed with the knowledge that there is more to the novel than the few facets I've had the fortune of appreciating. Ive often read secondary texts, Richard Pevears insightful introductions for example, but the emphasis is often upon the novels historical context, rather than the endless nuances and ambiguities within the fictions characters and their inter-personal relationships as well as the thematic relationships. I feel an intensely microscopic study of the details within Dostoevskys novels could, perhaps, extrapolate whole new revelations and questions. One scholar who enthusiastically delves into the depths of the details is the phenomenologist Hubert Dreyfus,Professor of Philosophy at The  University of California, Berkeley. In his lectures on Existentialism in Literature and Film he passionately labours over the decisions and twists of fate that Dostoevsky, cruelly and beautifully, moves his characters through. Unfortunately, Dreyfus's attention is focused solely on The Brothers Karamazov however I would love Drefus's fantastically thorough attentions and philosophical rigours to be given to all of Dostoevskys works, so that the same enlightening analysis can be brought to each and every one of the great Russians works. In my quest for more in-depth texts concerning Dostoevsky's works I have, on occasion, turned to the Internet. Unfortunately I have always found the online content concerning his work to be ( unusually considering the webs great sea of subject hypodata ) devoid of any in depth or critical readings of the authors great works. Or rather his output is critiqued but the actual mechanisms, let alone each characters philosophical positionings, inside each great work are left curiously unexplored. The wiki-pandering to online readers fickle attention deficit and compulsion to align text, regardless of meaning and context, into an adsense friendly framework has meant the wealth information available online can never really scratch at the surface of Dostoevsky, and certainly not provide any meaningful emotional reactions or interpretations. The emotional facet of exhilarating nihilism, the soul harrowing journeys and poignant beauty remain inside the pages of his novels and the minds of the readers. 

Dostoevsky's novels often contain a dichotomy of light and dark, distinct Apollonian and Dionysian elements prevail, good and bad, god and evil, real and not -  so the themes can be often be regarded and/or interpreted as overarching and paradigmatic despite many philosophical and theoretical arguments raging within the depths of a particular characters soul or through the tensions occurring within various characters, often deeply flawed, relationships. Typically the Freudian relationships in each work ( Freud took an awful lot from The Brothers Karamazov, a work about the authors father as much as it is about existential anguish or Russian nihilism ) and Dostoevsky's rabid schizomatic narratives, sprawling asymmetrical literary contexts and violent or fractured theme progressions often yield high emotion responses and philosophic impressions whilst leaving many mute points, odd questions and stones unturned ( an awesome, stunning example of this particular Dostoevskian trait is Demons ). The concise, poignant beauty of later french existentialist Albert Camus is only glimpsed fleeting in Dostoevsky, but is all the more arresting and thought provoking for its shadowy evasiveness. Dostoevskys works explore the Russian psyche amidst a time of nihilistic turmoil and a psychological/philosophical movement that would ultimately be defined as existentialism but I feel his work is perhaps clouded by this cumbersome connection. The mechanisms that result in Dostoevsky lacking thematic definition or clear philosophical positioning are the reasons his works are so great ( and also so hard to critique or discuss on a sub-novelean framework ). The experience is organic, gyrating, misty and murky and some characters or contexts within his novels do not even lead to questions, let alone answers. Perhaps this is why many people write about the great russians works with an entirely generalistic tone - in that Dostoevsky's books are summed up from the novels context within his artistic output, or juxtaposed against his personal life or within the ages political and social contexts rather than being examined on an entirely microscopic level concerned with the intricacies of each characters philosophical positioning and relational contexts. I am unsure of where to start with approaching The Idiot in order to achieve such deep and nuanced levels of comprehension, so for now I will start compiling various materials that may, in direct or oblique manners, acts as comprehension catalysts for the text and ideas within. I will start by providing ( oh! the may joys of living in the information age! ) YouTube clips of HakuchiAkira Kurosawa's 1951 adaptationof Dostoevsky's The Idiot. 

Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 1 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 2 of 17

Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 3 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 4 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 5 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 6 of 17

Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 7 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 8 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 9 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 10 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 11 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 12 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 13 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 14 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 15 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 16 of 17
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, 1951. Part 17 of 17

1 comment:

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