War and Peace, Part IV: Pierre Bezukhov
(Voyna i mir)
Sergei Bondarchuk, Lyudmila Savelyeva, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Boris Zakhava,
As Part IV begins, the Russian army is in retreat, and Moscow soon goes up in flames (a stunning display of film pyrotechnics). Pierre is drawn fully into the conflict at last; taken prisoner, he is witness to new cruelties. Andrei and Natasha reach a kind of peace, and as war recedes and Moscow rebuilds, life and love begin again. The series concludes where it started, with the words: “If evil men are linked with one another and are thereby made strong, then honest men, too, must do likewise. It’s as simple as that.” Coming in a film made in the midst of the Cold War, this simple message is also a poignantly impossible one.