20 November 2011 | Tgrain
An undeniably groundbreaking view of the Russian revolution
This unique dramatic miniseries about the tragic events of the 1917 communist revolution and its aftermath was made in 1993, two years after the Soviet regime had crumbled along with state censorship. It is the first Russian made miniseries about the Russian civil war to have depicted the Bolshevik revolution in a candid, brutally honest light. In this regard it was only paralleled 15 years later with the release of the "Admiral" film and miniseries.
Kon' Beliy (White Horse, named after one of the horsemen in the Apocalypse) follows several characters: the last Tsar and his family, an officer who had once served the last Tsar, two sisters torn between the communist Reds and the anti-communist Whites, the leader of the Russian Siberian anti-communist movement Admiral Kolchak, and a one time White counterintelligence officer who manages to survive in Russia through World War II.
Throughout the film, we see numerous themes: God and country versus revolution, loyalty versus treason, revenge and brutality versus mercy and humanity, love versus separation, and monarchy versus democracy, all on the backdrop of highly tumultuous, historically significant times.
Performances are excellent overall, featuring a number of emerging as well as veteran actors of the Russian screen. The occasional dream sequences can come off as somewhat indulgent, but do not seriously distract from the core of the story. The last 3 episodes which occur in the 1940's require some focus and patience to piece together, but is well worth the payoff.
While the film was shot on a relatively tight budget for a historical project of this scope as compared to "Admiral", it features excellent historical detail, costume, crowd scenes, and sets. Russians, Russophiles, history buffs, and cinema buffs who love a good foreign TV serial will not be disappointed.