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The Woman with the Five Elephants

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Feb 21, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Sterling Award for Best Documentary at Silverdocs, The Woman with the Five Elephants unravels the mystery behind the life and work of the world's greatest translator of Russian literature. A revelatory investigation into language, meaning and the tides of history.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Svetlana Geier
  • Directors: Vadim Jendreyko
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: German, Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005V3XDCI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,350 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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I ordered three copies of this documentary after watching a rented version. The film is so profoundly good that I wanted immediately to own it - and to give it away to friends I knew would like it, or more likely, love it. It's a beautifully filmed piece, beautifully edited, too. It is gentle in tone, moves relatively slowly, but is utterly absorbing. The five elephants are the German translations of Dostoevsky's novels, the woman is Svetlana Geier, a brilliant translator whose later life has been dedicated to the books. We see Geier in her house in Germany - the country that has been her home since the end of the Second World War when she and her mother left Russia; we see her at work with her amanuensis and her reader; we see her cooking and eating with her extended family. And then we are taken back to Russia with her and her granddaughter (an achingly beautiful rendering of the relationship between young and old) and learn the story of her early life, her experiences of the War and her path to translation. This is perhaps the most moving and nuanced documentary I've ever seen...I've now watched it four times and know I will continue to re-watch. As a study of character and the complexities of language and culture it is unparalleled. Geier is dead now, but the documentary - and the Dostoevsky translations - remain as powerful testament to an extraordinary woman
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The film has a slow, contemplative pace. Don't get discouraged if at first it feels as though not much is happening. I truly enjoyed learning about this lady's life story; her courage, independence, intelligence, and depth. She is an inspiration. There are very few people in the world who can make such big contributions to universal culture.
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The elephants in question are five great Russian novels that the Woman translates. The documentary is beautifully done and evokes the world of Russians who dedicate themselves to literature.
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