Director: DAVID LEAN

U.S.A. • 1965 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 193 MIN

‘Revolution erupted suddenly like a breath held too long,’ wrote Boris Pasternak in his great novel. ‘Everyone seemed to experience two upheavals, his own personal revolution, and a second one common to all.’ The fates of four characters will become intertwined: Zhivago (Omar Sharif) and Lara (Julie Christie), seeking a haven of peace; Lara’s former lover, Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), struggling to keep his feet in a world of slippery political allegiances; and Lara’s former fiance, Pasha (tom Courtenay), whom brutal suffering has transformed into a ruthless revolutionary. Some sequences (the Cossack massacre, the train journey to Siberia, which conveys a whole society in transit, the last shot of Lara disappearing along a grey street dominated by a huge poster of Stalin) are as finely composed as anything Lean has done. Yet it was the love story, Lean felt, which caught the public imagination. Robert Bolt’s screenplay is beautiful, and if Sharif’s Zhivago seldom suggests the soul of a poet, Julie Christie’s luminous Lara always suggests the inspiration for poetry.

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