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Trotsky

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David in MN:
Netflix has a miniseries titled Trotsky about the man and his history. It is interesting because it kind of tells his story jumping between his telling of it near the end of his life in Mexico and his coming to prominence in Russia in the 1917-1918 time period.

Up front, it's in Russian with subtitles. Sometimes this just plain sucks because some characters are explained with text in Russian that is not translated. The translations (with what little Russian I know) lack the complexity often in the dialogue.

All the negatives aside, the story is great. And leave it to the Russians to make a show about Lenin, Stalin, and primarily Trotsky and make them all villains. I can't speak to the accuracy of the series because I'm far from an expert on Trotsky only having read a couple of his books and not rigorously delving into his history. But far from a hero they portray a beaten old man chased by his demons with almost no link to humanity in him. He abandons his family, dons a black leather uniform as his death train rides across Russia, is oversexed, executes his friends,  and outlives his children.

It's a powerful series that tells the story of the Revolution set against WWI and Russian anti-semitism. Well written and well filmed. There is some (brief and really unneccessary) nudity and there is plenty of violence that will make people cringe. The director clearly loves the contrast of blood in snow.

Worth the watch.

LvsChant:
Thanks! Always looking for new suggestions. Subtitles aren't a negative to us... we've been watching a couple of Danish series lately (Borgen and Warrior) on NF. DH studied Russian in college, but don't know if he'll be able to add to the depth of the translations... we'll probably just watch and absorb as best we can.

David in MN:
I think you'll enjoy it. There is something unwaveringly distasteful that the history books miss. I did not know that he had 4 children (2 girls by his first wife and 2 boys by the second) and all 4 died before him. It's pretty grisly to imagine that Stalin had (for sure) his first wife killed and (likely) both his sons killed. His younger daughter died of illness and his older daughter killed herself.

None of this matters to Trotsky, of course, who is singularly focused on global revolution except for when he needs the occasional bottle of red wine or a rendezvous with Frida Kahlo. Even his second wife undergoes a tragic life beginning as a sexy nude model carousing Europe to end up looking like a mentally shattered frail old woman.

I don't want to spoil the whole thing because there is so much to hate in this series. For those who know a little Russian history we get Kamenev as the sober voice in the Soviet politburo. But even his voice of moderation is overwhelmed. One must wonder about the history. It's common for a poorly educated American to get the wrote public school lesson that Lenin was a visionary, Trotsky a brilliant orator, and Stalin wrecked it all. This series makes no bones that Stalin was a terror but also lays blame at Lenin for his purges and reminds that Trotsky re-instituted the death penalty. He really comes off as the permanent revolutionary who lacks the stones to actually pull a trigger.

I finished the series last night and to get an idea of just how badly they portray these Marxists the show ended with a quote... from the Bible. Proverbs 4:19 "But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom. They do not know what makes them stumble." Ending any tale of Marxist revolutionaries with a Biblical quote is like insult to injury. Much like when Putin rode a horse shirtless and every stupid American thought he was showing off his muscles. Umm, no. He was showing off the giant gold cross he wears and every Russian knew their grandparents would have been executed for that. This series is littered with these little insults that only people educated in Russian culture will grasp.

LvsChant:

--- Quote from: David in MN on October 04, 2020, 11:01:33 AM ---... Much like when Putin rode a horse shirtless and every stupid American thought he was showing off his muscles. Umm, no. He was showing off the giant gold cross he wears and every Russian knew their grandparents would have been executed for that. This series is littered with these little insults that only people educated in Russian culture will grasp.

--- End quote ---

I did not know that! Are there any other subtle messages like this that jumped out at you while you were watching?

Morning Sunshine:
I may recommend it to my husband,  He lived in Russia for 2 years, a few months in Moscow, but mostly down near Rostov (Sochi area)

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