Lermontov. Biographical Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles

2014, YEAR OF CULTURE With financial support of THE MINISTRY OF CULTURE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION CHANNEL ONE RUSSIA STAR MEDIA BABICH-DESIGN THE RUSSIAN MILITARY HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESENT I remember a dream… I was riding somewhere alone in the storm; and I remember a cloud, a small one as if being a shred torn off a black cloak, that was rushing past in the sky… This is so vivid to me, as if I see it LERMONTOV Chapter 1. HE WAS A CHILD The people in the large house of the estate masters in the village of Tarkhany were awake for a long time on a rainy October night Maria Mikhailovna Arsenyeva, young daughter of the lord of the estate, could not calm her newborn son, dandling him again and again The baby was born prematurely. It was weak Yelizaveta Alekseyevna Arsenyeva, boy’s grandmother, was a masterful woman Housewifely lady of the estate, she would always put things in order; always and everywhere This was the case too The grandmother instantly understood that her grandson was very weak, so she had to take caring of him in her hands She told to the young parents that she himself would be boy’s godmother And that she would name him Mikhail His father wished to name him Piotr, but, as usually, nobody dared to object to Yelizaveta Alekseyevna Yuri Petrovich, little Michel’s father, was a man of modest means, so she moved to live with his young wife in the Arsenyevs’ estate soon after the wedding After Michel was born, he started leaving to visit his parents’ estate frequently — either for going hunting of for a card game His young wife, still weak after the childbirth, felt the severance from her husband keenly She used to write moving love poems, missed him and often was jealous of him They met at a ball when it was decided that it’s time to find a fiancé for Maria Mikhailovna Always staying home, young Maria Mikhailovna has never been out, so she fell in love with well-mannered Yuri Petrovich, immediately and to distraction Yuri Petrovich was, generally speaking, a kind and gentle man, though hot-tempered He could hardly bear his young wife’s jealousy From birth, Maria Mikhailovna was a rather weak person and the atmosphere at home and frequent absence of her husband completely exhausted her One day, after another Yuri Petrovich’s trip, Maria Mikhailovna, annoyed and anxious, reproached her husband; he lost control and lifted up his hand against her This incident ruined the health of weak Maria Mikhailovna as she was Yuri Petrovich regretted greatly, but he already could change nothing

The people at the estate remembered young mistress frequently sitting at the bed with little Michel in it for hours and humming a lullaby for him And when the little boy went asleep she, weak, walked along the corridors of masters’ house with her hands behind her back and continued humming her quiet song Another doctor was brought to her the day before her death, when it was already impossible to save the patient Thus Michel Lermontov became motherless He was a child when his dearest one Was put in the coffin with singing And he remembered a black priest Reading a large book, incense being burnt And other things… and that his father Was standing there, silent, with his forehead covered with a large kerchief, And when they said to him To kiss farewell his mother, He loudly began to sob and cry… Being a child, Michel could not fully realize this loss Several days after his mother’s death he learned another thing, of which nobody saw any reason to tell him God only knows what happened between Michel’s grandmother and father, but Yuri Petrovich stayed in the Tarkhany for 9 days only after his wife died Then she left for his estate I was a young girl when the daughter of our lady died Everyone was crying like mad and our lady was crying more than anybody Then she asked to let her grandson to live with her and his father didn’t agree at first, but he was coaxed at last, left his son and departed for his estate… I wish I could see how he would raise him; he had barely enough money to live on his own even though he endeavored to look like an important person… Crushed by her sorrow, Michel’s grandmother ordered to demolish the large landlords’ house that witnessed the death of her daughter She didn’t wish to live in it anymore A church was built on its site and Yelizaveta Alekseyevna had a wooden house with an attic built near it in where she settled with her grandson Having lost her daughter, she cherished her only and beloved grandson All her strength, all her care she applied to Michel Yelizaveta Alekseyevna loved her grandson so much, that she “could not breathe enough of him”, as they said The only thing that alarmed her was boy’s affection for his father Every time Yuri Petrovich visited them, the boy was taken to visit neighbor landlords to hide him Little Michel was always happy to see his father, even for a short while He used to immediately jump out to the threshold every time as he heard the sound of the cart bells… His grandmother saw this; she wished to find any way to retain her beloved grandson by her side The solution came quickly “After my daughter died, there has been left her juvenile legal son and my own grandson Mikhailo Yuryevich Lermontov in whom I cherish parental affection and unlimited love as of the only subject of pleasure in the remaining days of my life and complete consolation of the sorrowful condition of mine Therefore, I hereby leave and convey by will and testament all my movable and immovable property to my own grandson Mikhaila Yuriyevich Lermontov after I die provided,

however, that the said grandson of mine will live with me and in my care as long as I live, with no impediment on the side of his father whatsoever, until he attains his majority Should the father of my grandson demand and obtain my grandson which, I say without concealing my feelings, will offend me to the greatest extent, then I, Yelizaveta Arsenyeva, leave and convey all my movable and immovable property now bequeathed not to my grandson, Mikhailo Yuriyevich, but to my lineage of the Stolypins Michel’s grandmother never left him unattended for even a single minute He slept in her bedroom and she watched his every step, fearing of least signs of ailment Born by a weak mother, he did not have much strength either One day he fell ill worse than usual Arsenyeva got scared so much that released house-serf girls from work and commanded them to pray God about young master’s recovery At all costs he must not be ill! He wants to see animals? The Tarkhany hunters are immediately ordered to bring a living deer and a living elk He wants to be out with peasants? The village peasants immediately gather and arrange fisticuffs The entertainment does not help: the doctors say he needs to stay in bed for a long time, in warmth, under the feather bed He can hear peasant girls sing or boys screaming when birched by their fathers and kissed by their mothers Deprived of usual children’s entertainments, he started to look for them inside himself Imagination became his new toy… As extension of agonizing insomnia, choking between hot pillows, he was getting accustomed to overcome the sufferings of his flesh by dreams of his soul… Moscow doctors did know how to treat the boy because none of them could establish the causes of his illness Misha was melting away before everyone’s eyes In despair, his grandmother invited Anselm Levis, a famous French doctor, to come to Tarkhany At first Dr. Levis treats Misha by a newfangled European diet using rye bread and watercress leaves In addition to his illness, the boy ceased eating at all and the granny asks the doctor to find some other remedy The doctor asked some time for thinking But soon he arrived at the estate with good news: he seemed to know the way to save the boy The Caucasus! The French doctor did not know for sure how this little-studied spa treatment worked… But it’s the Caucasus! Its winds, mighty mountains, noisy rivers and endless skies… There’s freedom here! The boy is recovering very quickly One day Michel notices a girl of nine from afar during a walk Will anyone believe me if I say that I knew love when I was 10 only? My heart became beating fast and I became week at the knees I did not have much understanding then; nevertheless, that was a passion, a strong passion: that was real love: I have never loved like that since then I was scoffed at and teased, for agitation was seen on my face: I would cry for no cause, wish to see her and when she came, I was shy to enter the room I did not want to speak about her and would run away when I heard her name being afraid that my heartbeat and trembling voice could unveil to other people the mystery that was obscure even for me Her blond hair, swift blue eyes, her ease — I have never seen anything of the kind since then. The Caucasus was sacred to me…

No one knew what cured the boy: either the Caucasus or his childish love The one thing was obvious: something had happened to the boy Chapter 2. AT THE DOOR TO THE HIGH SOCIETY Michel started to write poetry seriously in Moscow, several years after his journey to the Caucasus Michel turned from the boy into a young man and entered the Moscow University’s Boarding School His granny moved to Moscow together with her grandson and leased a house in Malaya Molchanovka Street Sviatoslav Rayevsky, grandson of her friend, often visited it He is three years older than Lermontov He has graduated from the Boarding School already and is now studying at the University at the Philological Department Michel has infinite trust in him Young, smart and freedom-loving Rayevsky so vividly describes the life of the high society, balls, ladies and gentlemen, the Decembrist revolt — all those things he could never learn from the dull noble environment of his granny But the main thing — Rayevsky narrates about Pushkin, his idol and the idol of the entire high society Rayevsky introduces Lermontov into the high society They attend balls each Tuesday. Lermontov tries to be refined and impressive He recites poetry, thus riveting attention of young ladies… May patronage of Fortune Be over you everywhere you go To make your mind resistant to wines And looks of young beauties Rose cheeks and wines — they often Shine with false colors Fake wine and coquettes bring poison In mind and hearts of men! Yekaterina Sushkova… A society beauty The attention of all men at all balls was riveted on her only at that time She had extraordinarily fine black hair Once she made a bet for a joke at a society party that she had no single false hair on her head To prove that, Sushkova let her hair down for everyone to see Young Lermontov was heard to say the only thing: “What coquetry!” I used to meet a clumsy and bearish boy at that time… Everyone called him just Michel and I, just like everyone else, did not care at all about his family name I named him my “official-at-large” and would give him my hat, my umbrella, my gloves for storage, but he would lose my gloves often, so I promised to suspend him from the office entrusted to him.” Once Sasha Vereshchagina and I were sitting together. Suddenly, she said to me: Lermontov is so much in love with you!

Lermontov? I don’t know him and, which is above all, I hear his name for the first time Just stop you pretending You have never heard of Lermontov? And never guessed that he is in love with you? No, Sashie I have never heard of him and never seen him Michel! Michel! Cathérine asserts she has never seen you fairly! Ah! I know you. And I have known you long enough to remember you But it is the firs time that I hear your family name. This is my only guilt Stealing gloves of St. Petersburg’s women of fashion — THAT is real guilt Michel became angry with them and run home headlong Don’t be slow in coming back! You will receive bonbons! Also we used to make fun of his not being fastidious towards food Our mockery would exhaust his patience; he would argue with us almost to tears Then we made a bet that we would catch him in the opposite in practice That very day we had patties with sawdust cooked for tea after a long ride So, what do we have here? Patties? The hors is really crazy I have a toast: to love! Try some more, with cabbage Oh! With pleasure! Michel! Michel! Michel! Michel! It was a joke! Michel! Michel! I’m sad because I love you very much, And since I know your youth, now in full bloom, Will be beset by slanders and by rumors For each bright day, for every pleasant moment, With longing and with tears you’ll pay your fate, I’m sad because you’re in a merry state Michel bears all mockery but continues to pursue Sushkova He is angry and jealous when he sees her dance with noble gentlemen He writes one poem after another to her One can’t help believing such love, And looks will conceal nothing You are unable of dissembling, ‘Cause you’re too angel for that… Thus, for your love did I pray With bitter tears, with yearning And my best feelings in this way Were sentenced to your spurning Nothing will bring us close anymore, Nothing will bring peace to my soul… Though a wonderful voice whispers in my heart: I cannot love another woman… You yesterday accepted my declaration And my verse without laugh; Though you didn’t understand my passions, For your pretended attention I thank you I thank you for your dedication My congratulations: you compose such nice impromptus of such insignificant words so quickly I would just like to give you a piece of advice; please don’t become angry: you should think over and shape your poems better and with time those you dedicate your verse to will even be proud of you Are you not proud of my verses now? Of course not! You should agree that… you and your poems are in absolute childhood now You find a strange pleasure indeed to remind me so often that I am nothing but a child for you You should be ashamed, Michel. It’s true, isn’t it?

I am 18 and I have appeared in the high society for two winters already And what about you? You are just standing on the threshold of this society and you will cross it not very soon You are mocking at me again I see it from your tone that my poem is silly and ridiculous and that it needs to be remade, especially in the last couplet Meanwhile a new trend for theme masquerades appeared in Moscow The high society tries on new and new costumes and masks from party to party… The whole society gathers at the balls like these Lermontov finds a special rapture in masquerade One night he appears in the costume of astrologer, carrying a huge book of fate The book contained caustic poems and biting epigrams It’s not a reason concealed afar For her being now with a retired hussar… His behavior provokes diverse response Some people note his diabolic passion with admiration, while others fear his caustic jibes In the dwelling of stench and shit Your prideful names do shine But I don’t wish to stain my verse To somehow them define From time to time Lermontov drove vulgarity to extremities, not recognizing anything worth of his attention in the surrounding society Many people spoke of him as of demon and dangerous cynic One night during another party in society he received a letter This 28-th day of January, year 1831 This is my parental guidance and, together with that, my behest to you, my dearest son Mikhail Although, you are in your young age now, I see you are gifted with abilities of mind Do not neglect them and fear above all to use them for any harmful purposes: it is a talent for which you will have to give account before Lord one day…! You have a good heart, so please do not make it hard because once your heart is hard, you will fall into the vice so much despised by you Thank you, my dearest friend, for your love and tender caring of me Your father, Yuri the son of Peter Lermontov You’ve given birth to me, but never made me happy; You were persecuted yourself in the world, You knew only harm from people… And were understood by only one of them And when the crying crowd bent over you, That very one was standing Without a single tear in his eyes, Motionless, cold and mute And everyone was insolently blaming him, Without knowing reasons why, As if the moment of your death Was a cause for him to rejoice What use for him of their mourning? Madmen! They could not realize That it’s much easier to cry than to suffer Without showing any sign of sufferings Presumably, Lermontov suffered the grief of the loss greatly The death of his father seemed to have cut the ground from under him Another loss seemed to stop Michel’s life That was a song that used to make me cry I cannot remember it now But I am sure that if I heard, it would affect me as much as before It was the song my late mother would sing for me Unexpectedly to himself, Lermontov takes notice of her only among the numerous people in their surrounding Young, gentle, pure, smart and as crystal clear as day, Varvara Aleksandrovna Lopuknina was a passionate, gushing and poetic person

Everyone called her no other than “Varenka” Varenka’s temper — gentle and loving, submissive and open — delighted Lermontov Comparing himself with her, he found himself to be ugly, unattractive, round-shouldered humpback That was how he exaggerated his physical drawbacks. She was angel and he… A Demon, soul of all the banished, Wandered under the blue heaven’s vault, And thoughts of happier days now vanished Before him crowdingly unfurled Not knowing either good or evil, He used to needlessly kill people And was he stranger to desires And things he touched would burn in fire, inflamed with his fateful seal! And very often the young Demon Had no delight in deeds of ill But suddenly he heard a quiet sound Beautiful like that of a lute And there was a voice He strained His eager ears And his forehead grew cold… He wished to immediately fly — And could not move his wings And then — O miracle! A tear of lead Rolled down from his dimmed eye Sullen as darkness of moonless night, With lowered gaze, Enchanted by her play, The evil spirit stood, wayward He must not let love in his heart One day Lermontov fails to come to the meting of the university students Then he stops appearing at society parties His grandmother receives no more letters from him in Tarkhany and she asks Rayevsky to help her Rayevsky sets out in search of Michel The letters from Lopukhina arrive at Lermontov’s Moscow address almost every day But instead of the answer, she receives the first version of his poem “The Demon” after a while …He must not let love in his heart Nobody can find Lermontov anywhere in Moscow. He disappeared “Following the instruction by the Head of the School of Sergeants and Cadets, I order to appoint minor Mikhail Lermontov to the Life Guards Hussar Regiment Lermontov is now ranked cadet and shall be enlisted as belonging to the gentry It turned out that he abandoned university and left for St. Petersburg to study at the Cadet School Becoming a military — this is his goal now It’s high time to start living independently Lermontov finds himself in unusual conditions of marching drills and military maneuvers, parades and soldier’s rough everyday life He is inspired by his father’s military past, adapts quickly and writes about himself: “I am warrior now.” Chapter 3. I AM WARRIOR NOW Lermontov masters all military skills brilliantly Aleksey Stolypin, his friend and relative, studies together with him He is sociable, jovial and he loves Lermontov sincerely Stolypin was hussar by birth As a sign of special trust, Lermontov invents a nickname for him: Mongo This was said to be the name of the dog that used to come to exercises and catch the regiment commander’s horse by the tail which quickened the end of the exercises Mikhail Glebov, a modest and kind minor nobleman from the Orel Guberiya, was in special repute of Lermontov Michel patronized him as brother No one of his friends, except for Glebov, could calm down Lermontov when he was furious These young cadets become Lermontov’s companions in youthful amusements For instance, he invents a game “The Numidian Squadron” He gathers his fellows at night and they mount one another; the one above covers himself and his “horse” with a bedsheet; the rider holds a glass of water in his hand On Lermontov’s signal, the squadron takes off at a gallop,

approaches their victim’s bed, tears away his blanket and pours the water on him Cadet Martynov is among Lermontov’s pals Some inexplicable rivalry that manifested in each of them preventing the other from becoming distinguished among the cadets is established from the first sight They encouraged and inspire one another to sophisticated tricks and this made their friendship strong, though strange… Lermontov is a master of fencing with spadroons He had almost no match in this His only competitor was Martynov I remember we were taught fencing on Fridays This class was obligatory for all the cadets I preferred sabers and Lermontov was the only of my friends who liked them as much as I did So we would meet for fights and these semi-theatrical performances attracted numerous audience from among our comrades.” Why are you so excited, friends? It’s a game, improvisation! Lermontov liked to torture us in ways more sensitive and extraordinary Without realizing, the cadets encouraged each other’s tricks Treading a tightrope, not merely having fun, was considered to be special styliness There was a meeting of a large number of young officers of different regiments one day One of the officers was recounting his affections and feelings Michel only dropped a remark: A man who has strength to fight against afflictions of soul is not able to overcome physical pain… This phrase sounded like a challenge Then the officer took a burning lamp by the glass bulb with his hand before everyone’s eyes Eventually, his hand had burnt through almost to the bone and he had high fever for several weeks O Lord! You have no idea of what life I am going to live! That would be admirable! First, vagaries and tricks of all kinds and poetry drowned in champagne! My time of dreaming has passed — it’s gone I want sensational pleasures now, tangible happiness, a happiness that could be bought for gold so that I could carry it in my pocket like a snuffbox and it would only seduce my senses leaving my soul unaffected! It is forbidden to read fiction at the school Lermontov writes poetry very little (in snatches, in classrooms by night) but he watches a lot One day Martynov, who was going out of his mind with competing Lermontov, finds his poetry and recites it publicly with no permission and calls him “Pushkin”… Gentlemen, follow me! Rude army lifestyle and customs absolutely different from the noble prevail among the cadets Lermontov as if lets all this world come through his heart What uhlan’s life is without wine? His soul rests at the bottom of the glass And he who isn’t drunk twice a day, Is — beg your pardon — not an uhlan

“Folks”, Lafa said belching, Why staying here? Follow me! I’ll show you a gate to Paradise! A beauty! Dashing one indeed! “Let’s go!..” heated up like beasts, The rakes roared all of a sudden, Jumped up and darted… Farewell, the happy days… There… voices, rattle, clamor – they’re… The ground trembles… coming… Jesus! But soon her fear vanished… Her hot breasts heaving… Creator, close your eyes! Good people, stop your ears!…” …So many strange things have happened to me, so that I do not know which way to take… I am not the man I used to be: I now feel and speak differently and God only knows what I will become during the year! My life makes me laugh now… Laugh at myself and at other people… Dearest Virgin, saying my prayer Now I address your radiant image, Asking not for salvation in battles, Nor with gratitude or repentance Nor for my soul of a wanderer In the world, godforsaken and homeless; I wish to entrust an innocent virgin To thee, warm patroness of the cold world Please, wrap her soul of merits with happiness; Grant her companions full of attention, Heartwarming youth and tranquil old age And peace full of hope to her heart unmalicious And when the moment of the last farewell comes Either in a morning eventful or in a quiet night Please sent your fairest angel to the bed of sorrow To sustain the fairest of souls in her heavenward flight! Two years later Lermontov graduates from the military school He has been promoted to the rank of cornet and now sports officer’s uniform around town His grandmother lavishes to equip her grandson well and provide the young cornet with all surroundings she deemed to be necessary for a brilliant guards officer A cook, 2 coachmen, a servant, being house-serfs in the village of Tarkhany, all of them were sent to Tsarskoye Selo to serve their master My friend, I still think you don’t have enough money I have found another 100 roubles, so I am sending 1,500 roubles to you… The grandmother spares no expense Apart from occasional presents like this, she regularly allocates 10,000 roubles per year to her grandson — huge money indeed! At that time Lermontov is crazy about horses. This is an expensive pleasure Parader, his faithful horse, was bought for 1,500 roubles from a general and there were several more carriages at his stable, waiting for their master… I have read your verse, my friend They are peerless and the thing that I liked the most was that there is no violent love in them, so popular nowadays…” Chapter 4. A HERO OF OUR TIME Fledged and experienced, Lermontov seems to be absolutely different now At one of the balls, he meets HER again… He has reached manhood. His eyes were looking with greater confidence

One could not help becoming confused when he turned them with a sort of immobility Lermontov knows Sushkova’s secret: she is engaged to the brother of Varenka Lopukhina He daringly assumes that she wishes to marry for money, not for love because Lopukhin owns several large estates and fife thousand serfs Lopukhin is coming to St. Petersburg soon and Lermontov knows this My Lord! If only you wished to guess how much you are loved! If only you wished to understand how passionately, how humbly and how frantically some young man of my age loves you! But first answer me to one question: if you would be loved by two men simultaneously, one — let’s assume he be Lopukhin — being rich, happy, everyone smiling at him, everyone admiring him, being able to afford anything only because he is rich! The other young man is far from being rich, famous and handsome but he is smart, passionate and perceptive And deeply unhappy! He is on the brink of the precipice because he doesn’t believe in anybody or anything He does not know what reciprocal feelings, mother’s endearment and sister’s friendship means And if this poor man dared to address you and say: ‘Please, save me. I deify you. You will make me great. Love me and I will believe in God Only you can save my soul ’What would you do then? What a kiss that was! Even if I lived a hundred years, I will never forget it It seems to me that I feel the touch of his hot lips every time I think of him I could not sleep all night long I must confess that I kissed my hand and squeezed it I was afraid to erase his kiss off.” …most passions begin that way, and we frequently deceive ourselves when we think that a woman loves us for our physical or moral qualities True, they prepare the ground, dispose the heart to receive the sacred flame, but nevertheless it is the first physical contact that decides the issue.” Lermontov has resolutely accomplished his intention So light-heartedly and carelessly of publicity, he prevents the wedding of Sushkova and Lopukhin The engagement is broken and Yekaterina Aleksandrovna herself has completely changed her mind about Lermontov You can congratulate me: I have started a good business It was quite difficult but I hope it will end brilliantly Are you writing something? You are going to be heroine almost everywhere I feel faint!’ she gasped… She… wanted to free herself from my arm, but I tightened my embrace about her soft slender waist… I could feel a fiery glow from her “What are you doing to me? My God!” “Either you despise me, or you love me very much,” she said at last in a voice that shook with tears “Perhaps you wish to mock me, to play on my feelings, and then leave me… That would be so vile, so low, that the very thought… Oh no!”

Lermontov… One rainy evening an unknown messenger delivers an envelope to Sushkova’s house A long unsigned letter in 4 pages written in French smearing some man without naming him My gracious Yekaterina Aleksandrovna! Let me… warn you that you are on the brink of precipice and your love of him… will ruin you… Believe me, he is unworthy of you There is nothing sacred for him and he does not love anybody… I used to know him before… he was younger then… which, however, did not prevent him from ruining a young lady equal to you in both wit and beauty He took her from her family and, after having had his joy of her, abandoned her Come to your senses; make sure that this fate is prepared for you too… Believe me, he will never marry you…He will simply confess that he has been pretending and will mock at you in addition And this would the best outcome which you might expect and which is sincerely wished to you: your unknown, but faithful friend NN The family investigation has established soon that the author of this message was Lermontov Her relatives decide that this affair compromises deeply both Yekaterina Aleksandrovna and all of her family Lermontov is refused in visiting their house Yekaterina Aleksandrovna is loosing her mind over not understanding what is going on and over desire to see him Locked at home as if in the cage, she had no opportunity to have an explanation with him However, the anger of her family calms down and Sushkova appears in the society again Her only wish is to see Lermontov You are unjust and cruel I am just he same as I have always been What do you take vengeance on me for? Don’t torture me and say it plain: why are you angry? Have I really any right to be angry with you? I am happy with everything I have And I even grateful to you. For everything For god’s sake, resolve my doubts and tell me why you are angry with me I’m ready to apologize to you but suffering these torments without knowing why is unbearable Answer me, calm me down! I have nothing against you. The mill cannot grind with the water that is past And I don’t claim anything In short, I don’t love you anymore… And I don’t seem to have ever loved you Some thought it to have been his revenge for the abasement he was bearing when he was young; some say Lermontov got frightened Others explained what happened by his suffering from his plainness and clumsiness Two years later Yekaterina Sushkova married to an old worshipper of hers, a man of modest means and, generally speaking, ordinary kind person Lermontov was said to have insisted on being Yekaterina Aleksandarovna’s best man and, having been refused, nevertheless was present at the church wedding ceremony… And also was said to be crying Nobody understood what Lermontov was feeling and enduring He was wrapped up in himself most of time after his breakup with Sushkova One day he received a letter when he was playing chess He started reading it but suddenly changed countenance and became pale This was the news of the coming wedding of Varvara Lopukhina Lopukhin, Varenka’s brother returned to Moscow after his engagement to Sushkova broke and told his sister that Lermontov loves and sues Yekaterina Aleksandrovna Varia was unaware of the details but the story her brother told her made her sure once and for all that Lermontov had preferred another woman, having left no other choice for her Breathless with impatience I galloped on… Oh, but to see her for a minute, only one more minute, to say goodbye, to clasp her hand…

I prayed, I cursed, I cried, I laughed… Now that I realized I might lose her forever, she became for me the most precious thing on earth, more precious than life, honor or happiness! And all the while I rode on, spurring my horse mercilessly… Varenka’s destiny has been decided by chance Rich landlord Bakhmetiev started attended balls in Moscow that year Once he came to the ball at the Moscow Assembly of Nobility Lopukhina’s ball scarf accidentally caught his tailcoat’s button She had to stop to untangle its fringe and that took quite a long time… Bakhmetiev was a superstitious man, so he saw a sign from above in this accident Soon he made a proposal of marriage to Varvara Aleksandrovna Varenka accepted it at her family’s insistence He crashed to the ground I leapt nimbly out of the saddle, but try as I might to get him up, pull as I might at the reins, my efforts were in vain A scarcely audible groan escaped from between his clenched teeth and a few minutes later he was dead I was left alone in the steppe, my last hope gone… I fell on to the wet grass and sobbed like a child… All my resolution, all my composure vanished like smoke — my spirit was impotent, my reason paralyzed, and had someone seen me at that moment he would have turned away in contempt.” Chapter 5. THE POET’S KILLED Rayevsky comes to St. Petersburg from Moscow He was transferred to serve with the Military Ministry Lermontov suggests him to share a leased house to live in it like brothers Rayevsky gladly agrees They were true friends able of working together and talking for hours Lermontov recites his poetry to Rayevsky and listens to his opinions with much attention Rayevsky persuades Lermontov to submit the poems for publication, but in vain Lermontov is firmly against — that was the extent of his self-doubt It ends in Rayevsky stealing his poem “Hadji-Abrek” and showing it to the editor of a major magazine and the latter immediately orders to publish it Lermontov learns of this He gets infuriated However, the poem is not criticized; on the contrary, it is praised in every manner possible At that time young people in St. Petersburg unite in circles again Lermontov and Rayevsky attend one of them, “The Circle of the Sixteen” The circle was named after the number of its members After having a modest dinner the young men spend evenings at the place of one of them, smoking cigars and talking about the events of the day and everything surrounding them in free and easy manner Following trends of the time, they oftener and oftener talk about politics and tsar’s rule Freedom-loving romantics and poets, the young men do not mind at all being reputed argent liberals among their friends Young Prince Aleksandr Vasilchikov was among the members of the circle But he hardly always participated in conversations of this kind Everybody knows that his father is the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and emperor’s minion Some have suspicious and apprehensive attitude towards cunning Vasilchikov, but Lermontov values his subtle sense of humor, likes to start arguments with him to expose his “false bottom” Vasilchikov’s presence points the meetings of the circle… Lermontov writes a great deal Despite boiling social and literary life in St. Petersburg, he almost invariably prefers solitude He seems to have no desires at all Except for one: he wishes his poems to be read by Pushkin In the evening of 27 January, 1837, the news of Pushkin’s fatal injury spread all over the city The city stirred up. Crowds of people besieged the house where Pushkin lived It was impossible to move on the banks of the Moika River — all classes of St. Petersburg’s society residents, even illiterate ones, were gathering there What was going on looked like a mass manifestation Pushkin died on 29 January at 2.45 pm

Lermontov’s poem shook Rayevsky and he immediately made several copies — mainly to support Pushkin’s family and is closest friends These copies spread all around the city in two days They were duplicated in thousand copies The poem was not only recited but also learnt by heart virtually by everyone No sooner had St. Petersburg said the last farewell to Pushkin than talks about his successor were heard everywhere The death of Pushkin was the talk of the town at those days Among Lermontov’s friends were also those who took the side of d’Anthes Would YOU shoot at Pushkin? When standing at the station Even if he had offended you? Gentlemen, don’t you think you reason like ladies in the salon? Lermontov was infuriated and immediately wrote another 16 lines right there, on a table napkin The “Postscript” — as these lines were called — spread around St. Petersburg even quicker then the poem itself It was some young hussar accusing the closest emperor’s circles of the death of the poet, not Pushkin’s death itself that became the main theme of talks several days after… And several more days later Nicholas I received by municipal post a copy of Lermontov’s poem titled “The Appeal for Revolution” Lermontov was summoned for interrogation I was still ill when the news of Pushkin’s duel spread Then, on impulse, I poured out bitterness of my heart on the paper in exaggerated and wrongful words, without understanding that I had written something reprehensible which could be taken by many people as something referring to them This was my first and last experience of this kind However, if no excuse is possible, my young age and ardor will serve explanation because at that moment my passion was stronger than cold reason I myself have never given it to anyone since then… But I cannot renounce them, for truth has always been sacred to me.” Searches had been executed under “The Case of Inadmissible Verse Written by the Cornet of Life Guards Hussar Regiment Lermontov and of Distribution Thereof by the Guberniya Secretary Rayevsky” Rayevsky was arrested Lermontov was shocked An official order was issued soon: “For whiting verses on the death of Pushkin, Cornet Lermontov shall be transferred to the Nizhny Novgorod Dragoon Regiment, retaining his rank, and Guberniya Secretary Rayevsky shall be kept under arrest and then sent to the Olonetsk Guberniya to serve with the local governor for the distribution of the said verses.” Lermontov is furious with himself for Rayevsky having been involved in a criminal case I did not mention you at first, but then tsar’s men became interrogating me: they said that no punishment threatened you and that if I refused to answer questions I would be demoted to soldier… I recalled my granny… and I could not I sacrificed you for her… I cannot explain what was going on with me at that moment.” Weak and exhausted by worries, Lermontov catches severe cold and falls seriously ill on his way to Kakhetia, the place in Georgia where Lermontov was supposed to stay during his exile He is alone again His condition is so serious that he is unable to reach his destination On his way, strange people literally take him in their arms from the cart: he is unable to walk himself. Lermontov stops in Pyatigorsk for treatment Chapter 6. A WANDERING COMET His youthful liveliness yielded to melancholy

Here, in the Caucasus, he reconsiders many things Life unveils to him form a new perspective He often leaves for mountains alone There are not only written verses among his papers but watercolors, pencil sketches from life The mountain air seemsto affect him in a very special way My dearest friend Sviatoslav! I have been on constant wander since I departed In Circassian clothes, with a rifle behind my back; I used to spend nights in the open air and went to sleep to the cries of jackals By Jove, I won’t promise to explain or describe this wonderful feeling: you want nothing at these moments; you could just sit and stare like that for all your life There are no service duties here… I have become a vagabond indeed… My dearest friend, please remember me and do believe that you having been punished over me is the greatest sorrow of mine Faithfully yours forever, Lermontov Yelizaveta Alekseyevna has been soliciting for her grandson for all this time She succeeded in a year: by emperor’s order Warrant Officer Lermontov was transferred to St. Petersburg to serve with the Life Guards Hussar Regiment in the rank of cornet Wake up, bone-head! Hi, beauty! He is completely absorbed in literary activities He writes many lyric poems, revises his poem “The Demon”, completes his drama “The Masquerade”, edits the poem “Mtsyri” he wrote long ago, as well as several more plays He starts writing “A Hero of Our Time” In a word, the most active period in his life begins Simuntaleously with Lermontov, his friend Rayevsky returns from exile Lermontov rushes to see him. He bursts into the room and throws himself on his neck He kisses him and, with his eyes full of tears, says again and again: “Forgive me, forgive me, my dearest friend!” The high life goes on as usual in St. Petersburg Lermontov is in surrounding of his friends He seems to be incredibly happy to be back and live the life he now lives Varvara Aleksandrovna Lopukhina comes to St. Petersburg the same spring She arrived to stop here for a short while before leaving abroad soon Together with her husband and child The wedding, the forced family life and delivery of the child weakened Varvara Aleksandrovna’s health Varenka is absolutely different now: she is pale and slim; and it is her eyes only that preserved their sparkle — they are as tender as they used to be before She will go abroad for treatment many times, but the news of Lermontov’s death will completely ruin her health and she will die at the age of 36 One day Lermontov comes home disheveled and wet to the skin The friends start asking him: “Why? What happened?” And Lermontov, in joking manner, narrates a story: I had a duel with some French! We went to the Chernaya River He chose foils: we stood knee-deep in snow and started He attached me inertly; I neither attacked nor protected myself I wanted to pierce his hand, but hit at his foil and my foil broke Mongo gave us the pistols The French made a shot, but missed; I shot in the air We reconciled and parted… That’s it

These d’Antheses and Barrantes are nothing but arrogant sons of a bitch This story had no consequences for quite a long time Lermontov was attending high society meetings just as before Finally an imprudent young lady exposed the story Lermontov was summoned for interrogation again I attended the ball at Countess Laval’s on 16 February; Mr. Barante began demanding my explanation of the lines from my poem “The Death of the Poet” where, according to him, I accuse the whole French Nation of Pushkin’s death I replied that everything told to him was unjust but since this did not satisfy him, I said that I had no intention to give any further explanations His biting words met the same biting reply of mine, to which he said that if we were in his country, he would know how to finish this point I replied then that the code of honor is as strictly followed in Russia as everywhere and that we do not allow offending ourselves with impunity even stronger than elsewhere Lermontov is punished for this duel with exile of a totally different kind He is sent to the frontline of the then waged Caucasian War by emperor’s personal order He is assigned to command a detachment of a hundred mounted “hunters” These were demoted officers, Cossacks, Kabardinians — all being men of reckless nature Lermontov replaces their wounded commander famous for his reckless bravery Lermontov establishes his rules in the detachment: he refuses all comfortable conditions, lives the life the Cossacks live: he sleeps on the bare ground, eats from the common pot, and pays no attention to the condition of his uniform and appearance But… he is quite happy with this appointment Lermontov fights recklessly and his boldness amazes even old and experienced native Caucasian warriors His detachment is called “a wandering comet looking for the most dangerous places in battles…” Outward recklessness of his detachment turns in practice to be excellent skills in endless hand-to-hand fighting. Some call them “a gang of dirty cut-throats” because Lermontov and his men defiantly despise firearms: they fight against the highlanders according to their rules and as against equals Lermontov’s horsemen fight remaining mounted, like highlanders or Cossacks There was no single special mission that his men would fail to accomplish And Lermontov was… the first to face the enemy I write to you by chance; and really I don’t know why and what for I have already lost the right to So what will I say to you? Nothing! That I remember you? But Gracious God! You’ve known this since long ago; And certainly you do not care And you don’t need to either know Where I am, what I do in what nowhere We are no kindred spirits; and I must say Affinity of souls hardly exists But I remember you — for sure I could not have forgotten you! First — ‘cause I’ve loved you very much And loved for very, very long; Then — I have paid with torments And anxiety for days of bliss; And then in fruitless repentance I dragged a chain of joyless years; And I’ve killed the last blossom of my life With my cold reasoning Becoming close with people with caution, I have forgotten the noise of youthful tricks, And love, and verse — but it was impossible For me to forget you Like bees the Cossacks scattered In the broad field, with loud cries; First badges — two and more — are seen now There, on the woods’ fringe And out there a murid in the turban, In red Circassian coat, rode prideful, His light-grey horse seething, Waving, calling out. Who’s the brave one To fight to death with him?! But there — look: a Cossack In the black cap set out; He skillfully drew out his rifle; He’s close… a shoot… a smoke… “You, fellows, follow him!..”

“What? Injured?!..” – “Oh, it’s nothing!” And the skirmish started… But there is all talk and no cider; In bold collisions of that kind On cool Caucasian evenings, We used to watch them As a tragic ballet With no bloodthirsty agitation And, yet, I’ve seen performances You’ll never see on stages… The silence was frightful It did not last long, With many hearts beating quickly In that strange waiting A sudden volley… There they lied… So what? Our regiments are battle-tried And tested… “Charge!” “Together!” we heard the command Blood started boiling in the veins! All officers ahead… Those still astride Attacked them riding… “Hurrah!..” And silence fell The daggers bare “The buttstocks!” and the carnage started And for two hours we cut each other Violently in the waters of the brook As animals, in silence, chest-to-chest The brook was full of dead bodies The heat and fight made me weary And I wanted to draw some water… But the turbid wave Was warm and red I asked my local friend: What is this place’s name? “Valerik”, he said, Which in your tongue will mean “The River of the Dead” — The ancients Were right indeed to name it this One will not see A trace of trouble or sorrow On your young face And you have hardly seen People die And please Lord You’d never do There are enough Of other troubles Is not it better To end one’s life in self-forgetfulness? And fall into a heavy sleep With dreams of close awakening? Now farewell: I will be happy If my artless story Would entertain you Even at a least degree If not, Then forgive it to me as a frolic And whisper quietly: ‘He is eccentric…’” This was one of decisive battles of that war… For the Battle of Valerik Lermontov was put on a commendation list, with a reference to his valor Lermontov was granted a three-months leave He returns to St. Petersburg He is tired of war and submits for resignation But suddenly it becomes known that hehas been deleted from all commendation lists His resignation is rejected And, as response to his grandmother’s petition to prolong his leave, an order comes for him to leave St. Petersburg and arrive at his regiment within 48 hours Lermontov has an attack of nerves He is in rage and fume, running around his room and scattering papers He comes to his senses by night only On his way to the Caucasus, Lermontov is intercepted in Tula by Aleksey Stolypin, his mate at the Cadet School, that very friend who was named ‘Mongo’ by Lermontov when they studied at the Cadet School He persuades Lermontov to delay his arrival at the regiment and stay in Pyatigorsk for a while on the pretext of having fallen ill and needing spa treatment Mongo volunteered to prepare the permits by himself Lermontov doubts and proposes to decide what to do by casting lots “Look, I’ll toss a fifty-copecks piece and if heads come up, we go to the regiment; if tails up, we go to Pyatigorsk. Agree?”

The coin comes up tails The friends start looking for a flat in the downtown of Pyatigorsk. They are lucky: there are rooms for two tenants in the house leased by their old friend Prince Vasilchikov Soon the friends are joined by Nikolay Martynov, another pal of theirs He has changed greatly; the war had a special effect on him: constantly gloom and taciturn, he had grown his whiskers long and was wearing a plain Circassian coat with a huge dagger and a white tall astrakhan hat pulled down over his eyes Martynov commissions a local artist to paint his portrait in the astrakhan hat and with daggers He takes from the war things absolutely alien to Lermontov If Lermontov sees the things going on in the Caucasus as tragedy, Martynov is absolutely sure that the tactics of scorched land should be used against the enemy All his look was a statement of superiority over the highlanders Having participated in several major battles, Lermontov, on the contrary, feels deep respect for the Caucasus and its people Lermontov and Martynov often dispute about this subject Lermontov wittily makes fun of Martynov’s beliefs The latter, in his turn, lacks wit to reply at a proper manner Pyatigorsk had a reputation of city of card gambling at that time Lermontov called him the Caucasian Monaco The friends have lots of jesting, dancing and drinking carbonated wine One night Lermontov saw Martynov at a party, dressed up in a Circassian manner, with two daggers on his belt, and cried to him, laughing: You’re so handsome indeed, Martynov! You look like TWO highlanders at once! These words were heard around the entire room… I have asked you many times not to joke in this manner in the presence of ladies, haven’t I? We’ll make our peace tomorrow. Never mind When the party was over and the friends were going their homes, Martynov caught up with Lermontov and said his phrase again Lermontov gave a smile and asked him: Are you going to challenge me to a duel for that? Martynov’s response was resolute They appointed the day immediately I might die tomorrow! And there will be no person in the world that would understand me absolutely Some think of me in a worse way, the others in a better way than I really am… Some will say: He was a good guy; the others will hold me for a scoundrel Both points are false Is that really worth of living on? But you still live, out of curiosity, waiting for something new to happen… It’s ridiculous and pity! A black cloud was slowly rising over the mountain Clouds in the sky, you are ceaselessly wandering… The place for the duel was chosen in haste They did not take a doctor with them As pearly chains in the azure steppes glimmering… The seconds established two stations at the distance of 15 paces one from another and measured 10 more paces in each direction Exiled as I have been, constantly hurrying… Long-range large-caliber pistols were prepared It was pre-agreed that the duelists could shoot either standing, or on the go,

or on approaching the stations, but in any case between the commands “Two” and “Thee” From native North into South you are quickening It was not allowed to shoot after the “Thee” Clouds in the sky… What drives you there:… Lermontov refused to use his shot in advance Everyone was sure that the duel will end up in empty shots and that, after exchanging the bullets, the opponents would shake one another’s hands and go to dine together Some secret jealousy? Or open wickedness? Or crimes hang heavy on you or some mutiny? Or your friends’ calumny is cruel and poisonous? On approaching the point, Martynov raised his pistol Clouds in the sky, you are ceaselessly wandering… No… The only thing that remained to do was to pull the trigger But why Lermontov does not shoot? …you were bored to death with these fields’ fruitlessness… The rain showers in the faces of the duelists With all these passions and alien misery, no Ice cold eternally, in steady idleness You have no homeland and suffer no outlawry Lermontov fell down A wound steaming in his right side, blood leaking from his left side Martynov hurriedly came up, kissed him lying on the ground, and then toured home After a short while the friends rushed to find a doctor and a cart, leaving Glebov at the place of the duel Lermontov was still breathing The rain drove faster. Faithful Glebov spent several hours near Lermontov and, as his friends had not appeared yet, he covered Lermontov, cold and wet through, with his coat and left for town to seek aid In the pouring rain, bleeding and alone, Lermontov was lying for four hours at the foot of the Mashuk mountain… Many people came to see the killed Lermontov out of curiosity Passersby saw Vasilchikov ride to the commandant to fetch the doctor, Glebov taken to the guardhouse; “Mongo” Stolypin declared wanted because no one could find him even in a day after the duel; Martynov put in prison where he spent three days in the company of two prisoners, one constantly reading aloud the Psalms, another crying out terrible curses… At the same time Lermontov’s grandmother Yelizaveta Alekseyevna is selecting a new stud for Lermontov’s stable to be presented on her grandson’s return He will turn 27 in October… Varvara Aleksandrovna Lopuknina meets with Aleksandra Vereshchagina at an Austrian resort and secretly gives her Lermontov’s letters and poems she managed to safe from being burnt by her husband Rayevsky at his estate in Starvropol receives a letter sent by Lermontov from Pyatigorsk and consults with his wife if they should probably go to see Michel That would be great indeed to hug one another again… THE END OF THE FILM © Star Media Distribution LLC, 2014