Penultimate choice. Decided to take a quick dive into some Russian cinema and came across this title: His Wife’s Diary. On Letterboxd, only 130-something users have it registered in their lists, so it’s incredibly obscure, at least with English speakers. Something about its rough aesthetic appealed to me, and it happened to be on Tubi. Sure, why not?
This post will be basically nothing, because this film is basically nothing.
“A tragic story of love and loneliness – this is the unknown life of the great Russian writer Ivan Bunin. The confused love story that involved Bunin, his wife Vera, the young poet Galina Plotnikova, opera singer Marga Kovtun and literary man Leonid Gurov. A work of great honesty and piercing psychology.”
[There doesn’t seem to be a trailer for this film anywhere online.]
Actual (Short) Review
Before I give a bare-bones explanation of my experience, let it be known that Tubi’s version of the film comes with subtitles that are pretty inadequate. Various typos, names never consistently spelled one way or another, and sentences that look literally translated to a rough estimate. I understand that this is somewhat unfair to group into the film’s quality, so I felt it necessary to provide that context.
Outside of that, it’s really dull. Pacing is glacier-like for a good forty minutes or so, eventually leading into a soap opera of overemotional outbursts and possessiveness. Can’t say too much with the writing because the subtitles seemed suspect, but characters don’t strike me much as “human.” It’s more just a display of “Oh, no! These poor souls! Trapped in their own situations!” Except half of them are acting of their own volitions.
Some of the “point,” I think, of the film is to portray love as being loyal despite the hardships. That though they could be happier without, the familiarity of what once was keeps them complacent. A sort of tragedy within dramatic irony. Only issue is that all of the characters are really blunt and uninteresting and clearly written for melodrama. I never cared for a moment.
It tries, I suppose. The actors do an all right enough job considering the dialogue and circumstances. And there is some sort of sick comedy to how melodramatic it all is. Otherwise, it’s probably obscure for a reason. I’ll likely forget everything about it next month.
Final Score: 4/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
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