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Documentary film: Tolstoy & Gandhi

Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: A Double Portrait in the Interior of the AgeSCREENING AND DISCUSSION:


Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Screening followed by discussion with the producer and co-writer Galina Evtushenko – 4:15 p.m. Standish Room, Science Library, University at Albany, Uptown Campus

Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi never met, but during the last year of Tolstoy’s life, the two men corresponded while Gandhi was living in South Africa.

LEO TOLSTOY AND MAHATMA GANDHI: A DOUBLE PORTRAIT IN THE INTERIOR OF THE AGE explores their correspondence, which covered crucial philosophical, religious and political issues facing humanity in the 20th and 21st centuries.

In a 2016 interview published in Russia Beyond, Evtushenko. a visiting Fulbright Scholar in the Documentary Studies Program in the Department of History at the University at Albany, said one of the main motives for making the film was to increase awareness among both the Russian and the Indian people of the proximity of philosophical ideas between Tolstoy and Gandhi, their correspondence, as well as its significance for Russian-Indian relations.

"If you're on one of Moscow’s streets and you ask someone whether you know Leo Tolstoy, ten out of ten will say yes. But what do they know? Only 'War and Peace', 'Anna Karenina' and nothing else,” said Evtushenko at a press conference in New Delhi at the premiere. “If you ask who Gandhi is, not everyone will have the correct response. Someone may have heard about the philosophy of nonviolence. That's all. It was very important for us to give people the opportunity to learn the philosophy of Gandhi and Tolstoy."

Evtushenko continued, “The world doesn’t know a lot about the relation between Tolstoy and Gandhi, and how their ideology has influenced the world. This movie will help us better understand the relation through correspondence in the last year of Tolstoy’s life. Even though Mahatma Gandhi had no direct contact with Leo Tolstoy, the correspondence led Mahatma to follow Leo as his teacher.”

Prof. Galina Evtushenko has completed more than 30 documentaries and two feature films, establishing a career as an independent producer and creating her own production company, Rose Film Studio. She was a winner and a nominee of the ”NIKA” Russian National Film Award – the annual national award presented by the Russian Academy of Cinema Arts and Science –and “The Golden Eagle” -- one of the most prominent film awards in Russia.

Sponsored by The New York State Writers Institute, the University at Albany Documentary Studies Program, and the Department of History.

Below, director and co-writer Anna Evtushenko (L) and director, producer and co-writer Galina Evtushenko at the premiere of LEO TOLSTOY AND MAHATMA GANDHI: A DOUBLE PORTRAIT IN THE INTERIOR OF THE AGE in at the BRICS film festival in New Delhi in 2016. Source: RIR