Léon returns to Dostoevsky to film an episode from The Idiot, starring Jeanne Balibar as the femme fatale Nastassia Philippovna, who finds herself juggling the affections of four men over the course of a single evening. One is her benefactor, the bourgeois Totsky (film historian Bernard Eisenschitz). Another is the opportunistic Ganya (Serge Bozon), whom Totsky has promised 75,000 rubles if he will marry Nastassia. Enter Rogozhin, who offers Nastassia 100,000 rubles for her hand. And of course, the “idiot,” Prince Myshkin, who loves Nastassia madly and vows to “save” her. Shot in elegant black-and-white with a peerless cast, The Idiot distills the power of Dostoevsky’s great novel into a singular hour of cinema.
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