Onegin - A love in St. Petersburg

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German title Onegin - A love in St. Petersburg
Original title Onegin
Country of production UK , USA
original language English
Publishing year 1999
length 106 minutes
Director Martha Fiennes
script Michael Ignatieff ,
Peter Ettedgui
production Simon Bosanquet ,
Ileen Maisel ,
Ralph Fiennes
music Magnus Fiennes
camera Remi Adefarasin
cut Jim Clark

Onegin - A love in St. Petersburg (English: Onegin ) is a film adaptation of the verse novel Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin . Directed by Martha Fiennes .


Onegin, a bored and cynical young idler, finds himself in a country estate outside Saint Petersburg that was bequeathed to him - along with a considerable fortune - by his recently deceased uncle. He made the acquaintance of Lensky, a young poet full of romantic feelings and ideas, who was the same age and who introduced him to the house of his fiancée Olga. There he met Olga's sister Tatyana, who, unlike her fun-loving sister, has a quiet and thoughtful temperament. He likes it, he watches it, he postpones his departure. Tatyana, on the other hand, is charmed by him. She likes to read and borrows a book from him, which he carefully selects: the Nouvelle Héloïse , a "novel in the form of an exchange of letters between two lovers," as he says.

Tatyana confesses her love to him in a letter. Onegin throws the letter into the fire, but gets it back before the letter can go up in flames. At a ball he follows Tatyana into a garden pavilion, where he tries to return the compromising letter, which she refuses. In the following conversation he dismissed her with cool words. It is not suitable for love and marriage, with its consequences family, obligations, boredom, deception. He calls Tatyana's love a youthful dream that it will soon overcome, just as it will forget him too. Back at the ball, he dances with Olga, watched by an injured Tatyana and a jealous Lensky. When Lensky confronts him with wanting to seduce his fiancée, Onegin mockingly replies that it is not worth the effort, that anyone can easily conquer her.

Then the deeply offended Lensky challenges him to a duel. Onegin tries by all means to dissuade his friend from the plan, he begs him, but the agitated Lensky refuses, and Onegin complies. In the following duel, Lensky, who can barely hold the dueling pistol straight with excitement, has the first shot to miss. Onegin takes aim, hits his friend in the temple, who collapses dead. Onegin throws himself weeping over his friend's corpse.

Onegin leaves his estate and travels for an indefinite period of time. He keeps the love letter that Tatyana wrote to him. Visibly aged, he returns to Petersburg after six years. He seems tired, melancholy, little more of the vanity and arrogance of the former dandy can be felt. Olga has meanwhile married an Uhlan officer. Onegin attends a ball that his cousin, a general, is giving. There he sees Tatyana again as an elegant lady of St. Petersburg high society. He lets his cousin introduce himself and learns that she is his wife. Onegin, who is clearly speechless, becomes aware of his love for her. He follows her everywhere just to see her. He confesses his love for her in a letter that Tatyana throws into the fire in the presence of her husband, who has been watching them closely since they met at the ball. In a conversation with Onegin, she tearfully says that she still loves him, but rejects him out of loyalty to her husband.


The film is based on Alexander Pushkin's verse novel Yevgeny Onegin . Four members of the Fiennes family were involved in its production: Ralph Fiennes in the title role and as producer, Martha Fiennes with her directorial debut, Magnus Fiennes composed the music and Sophie Fiennes had a silent supporting role.

The Grange , Northington

Exterior shots for the film were shot in St. Petersburg and at The Grange , Northington, ( Hampshire ), the interior shots at Twickenham Studios in London.

The “ Devil's Trill Sonata ” by Giuseppe Tartini at the concert in the Nikitin house is played by Chloë Hanslip , who was twelve at the time .


Martha Fiennes was recognized for Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival and Best Newcomer at the London Critics Circle Film Awards . Liv Tyler was honored as the best foreign actress by the Association of Russian Film Critics. He was nominated for Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards and Best Screenplay at the Satellite Awards .


The critic of Tech , MIT's Internet newspaper , calls the film "a captivating piece of artwork, an excellent debut for Martha, and another feather in Ralph's tragic cap"

Phoebe Stein, the Spiegel film critic, praises the brilliant acting performance by Ralph Fiennes, the “gorgeous Liv Tyler”, the camera work by Remi Adefarasin and calls the film, with reservations regarding the penultimate scene, in which the director “has confidence in the clarity of her visual language to have lost [seems] ”, a“ cinematic pleasure ”.

“There is a cool, mannered elegance to the picture that I like, but it's dead at its center. There is no feeling that real feelings are at risk here. Tyler seems sincere enough, but Fiennes withholds too well. "

“The cool, civil elegance of the film is pleasing, but it's dead inside. You don't get the impression that real feelings are in danger here. Tyler is convincing, but Fiennes is too reserved. "

“A brilliantly played and atmospherically dense film adaptation of a verse novel by Alexander Pushkin, which plunges deep into the 'Russian soul' to tell touchingly about spurned and unfulfilled love. The impressively 'painted' pictures seem like a walk through a picture gallery. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Übers: A captivating work of art, an excellent debut for Martha and another feather on Ralph's tragic hat. The Tech, Film Review, April 21, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Spiegel Online Kultur, September 19, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  3. Chicago Sun-Times: Review
  4. Onegin - A Love in St. Petersburg. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed April 7, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used