"Happy families are all alike;
Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way". Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Anna and Kitty. Two lives. One of desperate passion that ends in tragedy, the other, an existence made real through love. Two destinies that interweave, giving rise to two, so very different stories, yet lived in pursuit of the same desire- to find a love that lets them fully be themselves, to live without having to conform to society’s pretences.
The home of an important Muscovite family glows with merry celebration. Music penetrates into a small room next to the immense hall. A room where Kitty Shcherbatskaya, a girl who has just blossomed into a dazzling beauty, and Konstantin Levin, a young land owner, find themselves one in front of the other. Levin tries to say everything he has to say in very few words. There’s so little time. He knows Kitty is about to be swept away by the vortex of the high society life she loves so much and, well… “I wanted to say…this is why I came… will you marry me?” Kitty is overcome with emotion, but something holds her back. She is unable to respond. Suddenly the door behind Levin opens and a few people burst inside the room. The charming officer Alexei Vronsky is among them. Kitty’s expression is immediately altered upon seeing him. Just seconds before she had been overcome with emotion and yet now her expression transforms into one of sorrow and compassion towards Levin. She responds. “I’m afraid I cannot. Please forgive me”.
Kitty chose Vronsky, yet Vronsky chose someone else- Anna Karenina.
Shrouded by the splendor and magnificence of the ball, Kitty realizes she has been betrayed and humiliated by this very same woman.
Anna, the woman Kitty had regarded so highly and respected more than anyone else, is the cause of her desperation.
Anna, the noble woman from St. Petersburg who had come to Moscow to save the marriage between her brother, Stiva, and Dolly Scerbatskji, Kitty’s older sister…
Anna, the woman so loved by children for her innocent ways and by adults for her earnestness and kindness.
This same Anna, still so beautiful, is the woman who becomes enthralled by passion for Vronsky and decides to abandon her husband and son and openly defy the society and mentality of her time.
Alexei Vronsky, a career-driven officer, a skilled horseman, handsome, mysterious, of noble birth and solid family wealth is the man in Moscow that all husband-seeking women want to marry (including Kitty). Because of this same man the young Scerbatskji princess grapples with delusion and humiliation, but is finally led to find happiness in the arms of Konstantin Levin- a concrete, authentic and profound man. The only man capable of understanding and sharing her same desires. An honest man who seeks truth and the common good, a man who is able to overcome his own ideological delusions and finally accept the existence of God.
Anna is married to Alexei Karenin, an important politician who is both just and respectable, but Anna does not feel he loves her.
Our protagonist continued to hope that the marriage her aunt had arranged for her who become a marriage of love, but her husband, much too taken with his career, conventions and a peaceful life, does nothing to make her dream come true.
Anna is also a mother. Her son Seriozha is an adorable child who is very much attached to her. Yet she will be forced to abandon him as well in pursuit of the love she feels for Vronsky, which now seems her only reason to live.
Vronsky seduced Anna almost for the mere challenge of doing so, but is now bound by a love greater than himself, something he has never felt before and for which he is willing to give up everything- his military career, his honor in society and his family’s wealth.
Even after the birth of her daughter with Vronsky, Annushka (who she almost died in labor with), Anna lives in pursuit of a shadow of nostalgia that is cast over another existence, and a type of perfection that she will never be able to truly attain and which Vronsky cannot satisfy.
This pursuit eventually brings about an end to her passionate love story and to her own tragic fate. Once Anna finally overcomes her husband’s opposition to a divorce and apparently obtains what she had fought for, she becomes hopeless.
Meanwhile, Kitty, after working as a nurse in a military hospital, finds the courage to renew her love story with Levin and marries him. In the peacefulness of daily life, the two newlyweds discover true love and, above all, in caring for the dying Nikolai (Levin’s older brother), they get a taste of the mystery of what it really means to be a family- “together they are one”.
After the violent end to Anna’s story- not, however, without the light of forgiveness– Vronsky sets off for the war hoping only to be able to forget...
Karenin and Seriozha seem almost crippled, and yet there is now young Annushka (Anna and Vronsky’s daughter) among them, and her parent’s impossible love.
Dolly and her husband Stiva continue to live together, despite the difficulties of their family life.
Kitty and Levin, with their newborn child, fruit of their love, not only embody every family’s unhappiness , but undying hope.
One of the greatest love stories ever written.
After dozens of film and television adaptations, the story of Anna Karenina is seen through a whole new light, with the revival of parts of the novel that are often overlooked.
The passionate story of two women, Anna and Kitty, the tragedy and realization of a touching and imperfect joy, sentiments and reason, extraordinary love and everyday love finally interwoven in this original, all-time saga- Anna Karenina.
An international co-production, immersed in the uncontaminated landscapes of Lithuania and Latvia, with an international cast from Italy, Germany, France and Spain, directed by Christian Duguay, the Canadian director who has directed some of Lux Vide’s recent successful miniseries including Coco Chanel, Augustine: The decline of the Roman Empire and Cinderella.
Characters like Levin, Karenin, Seriozha, Vronsky, Dolly and Stiva give us an indelible representation about the truth of love, marriage, separation, children and, most of all, they will make us think about the meaning of our own existence.