Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Things

I know I am perhaps going a bit overboard on the whole Taras Bulba thing, but I do find it so fascinating how the universe drops things under your nose.

Right before we moved to Moscow I read Jane Smiley's Ten Days in the Hills, which included a reference to the Yul Brynner movie, Taras Bulba. (Not Smiley's best work, by the way, but great sex scenes and plenty of 'em.)

As with many things, I had never heard of Taras Bulba in film nor print. It's based on a novel of the same title by Nikolai Gogol. I would mention it to other people, and if they knew of it at all, they would say, "Oh! Yes! Yul Brynner."

Then, we move to Moscow, and not only is my first meal here at a restaurant called Taras Bulba, but we live practically next door to it. We eat there a lot.

In the meantime, there's been a remake of the movie:

That's a whole 'nuther story because not only was this version of the movie financed by the Russian Ministry of Culture, but it takes liberties with Gogol's plot. It can be argued that this new movie is Kremlin propaganda and suggests that Ukraine is rightfully still a part of Russia. Given the political tensions these days between those two countries, it's no wonder the movie is controversial. I haven't seen it yet, so I can't comment.

But back to All Things Taras.

Yesterday, while eating lunch (again) at the restaurant, we discovered they sell themed playing cards. So I bought a pack.

They are just beautiful. Click on the images to see them better.

They would make good gifts, but run a bit steep at $10 for the pack. At that price, they better taste good and ensure I always win, too.


Jen said...

"Taras Bulba" was one of my favourite childhood films. I haven't seen it for years - look forward to the remake.
Did you see "Mongol" about Genghis Khan? Brilliant. It's the first of a trilogy but I'm not sure of the status of the next two parts.

Jen said...

PS The cards are beautiful! They'd look great framed.

The Expatresse said...

I just ordered the book and Yul Brynner DVD. I bought the new movie for The Spouse for his birthday/Father's day, but it doesn't have subtitles even in Russian so not sure if he will want to watch it. His Russian is quite good, but having the subtitles in Russian helps. And I didn't realize that when I bought the DVD.

The Expatresse said...

I'd love to get the card art larger. They're small . . . you know . . . card-sized.

Jen said...

Great idea for presents! I was thinking more than one card in the frame?

valentina said...

Oh please oh please bring me a pack of those cards and I will swap you a pack of Barack Obama cards which are actually quite nice! xov

altadenahiker said...

You'd beat me with this deck, because I can't tell who is what. But I love the B of hearts

Annie said...

I think I saw that as a child....isn't it the one where he reaches out and grabs the blade of a sword and doesn't let go of it as the owner pulls it away. Oh, my gosh - that was enough, ENOUGH.

I think we ate at that restaurant...vaguely think so - does it have pink walls painted with metallic gold designs. That stays in my memory also, as exquisitely beautiful.

The cards are gorgeous.

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