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Final Words, Final Shots: Kurosawa, Bortko and the Conclusion of Dostoevsky???s Idiot

Abstract

In their article "Final Words, Final Shots: Kurosawa, Bortko, and the Conclusion of Dostoevsky???s Idiot" Robert O. Efird and Saera Yoon discuss film adaptations of Dostoevsky???s novel. Both in his homeland and abroad, the major works of Fyodor Dostoevsky have largely made for disappointing film adaptations. This article examines the cultural diversity and aesthetic motivations underlying two very different adaptations of his novel Idiot, with particular attention to the concluding scenes. Both Akira Kurosawa and Vladimir Bortko follow the novelist's lead by hinting at some form of hope and future redemption amidst the tragedy but, for different reasons, they both fail to capture the rich ambiguity and creative ambivalence of Dostoevsky's final words. As the authors argue, the novelist's fluid dialogic aesthetic tends to disappear in visual adaptations, yet paradoxically thrives when released into new contexts less dependent on fidelity to his words. These two adaptations, despite their relative success, demonstrate the inherent difficulty of cinematizing the dynamics of Dostoevsky's art

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