Friday, October 08, 2010
Tristi Goes on a Russian Rant
I spent the last week reading The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. First of all, I have to say, wow. This was one of the most well-written, well-documented books I've ever read. It held my interest like fiction, but instead was a powerful piece of nonfiction that I will never forget. It painted pictures in my mind and brought the whole story to life. It also made me angry with Fox.*
When the movie "Anastasia" first came out, I went to see it with eager anticipation. I'm not sure if all my blog readers know this, but I've been fascinated with Russia since I was a small child, and I even got to spend two weeks there as a teenager. My husband and I want to serve a mission there together when our children are grown. In fact, it was our mutual interest in Russia that brought us together in the first place - he learned to speak Russian in the Air Force. So, of course, when the movie came out, I badly wanted to see it.
What a jumbled mess of hyped-up entertainment and sensationalism.
I knew it ticked me off, but until I read this book, I wasn't aware just how deep my ticked-off-ness would run. Now I know ... it runs pretty deep.
In the movie, we see Anastasia as a little girl being whisked out of the palace by a little boy as the soldiers come in to take away the family. She then grows up on the streets, and when a charlatan decides to perpetrate a scam and say that Anastasia survived the assassinations, he finds her and decides to pass her as the princess. She was in her middle teens when she does this. It is discovered that she actually is the princess, and all is sunshine and roses.
In actuality, Anastasia was a young lady of seventeen at the time of the assassinations. She was not a little girl. The royal family was not taken from the palace by soldiers - Nicholas, the tsar, had renounced his throne some time previously, and the family had been living in solitude in a quiet location far away from the palace. From there, they were moved into a house in Ekaterinberg, where they lived for a time before they were taken down to the basement and killed.
From there, the bodies were taken out to the forest, where they were buried. But the burial spot wasn't deep enough, and the assassins went back out the next day, recovered the bodies, and doused them with acid before then setting fire to them. When they recovered the bodies, they counted each one of them, and none were missing. This report was taken from the leader of the assassins himself. These are just some of the inaccuracies of the film - it would take me at least another hour to innumerate them all.
What infuriates me so much is the fact that Fox took this moment in history, completely fictionalized it, marketed it to children (who remember everything they see) and call it the story of Anastasia. Children are literal. They now believe that this is the story of Anastasia. History was not done justice at all. The bottom line, the almighty dollar, was the motivating force behind the whole thing.
Why not make a nice movie about someone else who didn't know she was a princess, and call it something else? Then you can throw in any whacky things you want without totally demolishing history.
All I can say is this: if you're going to make a movie about a real person's life, at least do your audience the courtesy of telling the truth.
*Note: When I originally posted this blog, I accused Disney of making this film. One of my friends left a comment and corrected me - it was indeed made by Fox.