By Michael HOFFMAN


Romance - Completed 2009

Valentin is hired by Russian author Leo Tolstoy to help him with his struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things. Tempted by lust and distracted by politics, Valentin is forced to decide which kind of life he must chose for himself.

    • Year of production
    • 2009
    • Genres
    • Romance
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 112 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Michael HOFFMAN
    • Writer(s)
    • Michael HOFFMAN
    • EIDR
    • 10.5240/97F4-5336-CB6B-0EEC-386C-U
    • Producer(s)
    • Chris CURLING (Zephyer Films), Jens MEURER (Egoli Tossell), Bonnie ARNOLD
    • Synopsis
    • Sixteen years younger than Tolstoy, Sofya bore him 13 children. She also acted as a loyal secretary and is determined to preserve his enormous wealth for herself and her children's future. Torn between his professed doctrine of poverty and his wealth, Tolstoy searches for purpose in his life.
      Valentin, an idealistic young student, leaves Moscow to work for Sofya and Tolstoy. When he arrives, Valentin meets Masha, a beautiful young teacher and suddenly his vow of celibacy is forgotten!
      Sofya and Tolstoy are increasingly at odds. Chertkov (Tolstoy's devoted disciple) urges Tolstoy to sign a new will and leave his estate 'to the people' while Sofya battles his every move.
      Valentin tries not to take sides but inevitably gets caught up in the struggle. Outraged at Valentin's apparent lack of cooperation, Chertkov spitefully fires Masha. Distraught, Valentin follows to search for her and finally finds her living in a very humble lodging house. Falling happily into her arms, they swear never to leave each other again.
      Tolstoy, in his final days, makes a run for peace. Too ill to continue beyond the tiny railway station at Astapovo, he stops while hundreds camp outside awaiting hourly reports. Tolstoy often claimed that marriage was the best thing that ever happened to him. After his death death, Sofya remarked, "I lived with him for forty-eight years, but I never really learned what kind of man he was."