If you’re not in the mood to stand in line with a bunch of Twihards tonight to see Breaking Dawn: Part II, escape to the evocative world of 19th-century Russia in Anna Karenina, which also opens this weekend. Though some would be horrified that we are putting the 2 films in the same sentence, there are some similarities between the 2 stories: both are based on love affairs with the forbidden; one between a vampire and a human, the other between a married socialite and a young cavalry officer. And both are set in romantic, but equally dark settings — rainy Pacific Northwest and snow-covered Russia. And both make us want to travel.
This cinematic take on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, Anna Karenina — the story of a married St. Petersburg socialite embarking on a passionate and disastrous love affair — is a visual masterpiece, already garnering Oscar buzz. As with all film adaptions, this version takes creative liberties and scenes are set on a theater stage, showing very little of Russia or its famous landmarks. Being the travel junkies we are, it’s inspiring us to embark on our own Russian adventure.
The scenes of Anna Karenina traveling in a luxurious train car, through the snow-covered open landscapes of Russia, left quite an impression on us. Now we’re dreaming of a luxury train ride on the Trans-Siberia Railroad, touring historic St. Petersburg and dynamic Moscow. Of course, we’ll need to be buddled up in something glamorous and warm … luckily Banana Republic’s Anna Karenina collection is now out. And we’d love to attend a proper Russian tea party or be invited to a ballroom dance with the likes of a dashing cavalry officer like Count Vronsky. Or we’d be happy to just stare at the beauty of architectural wonders like St. Basil’s Cathedral or follow Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps in Russia.
Anna Karenina is just one of the many movies that have moved us. Most recently, we’ve been envious of spy life with James Bond’s travels and we’ll fully admit that Twilight has us smitten … and not with hunky werewolf or bloodsucking vampires, but with the stunning destinations from the saga. And even Lincoln has us feeling patriotic to tour Lincoln locations.
So we won’t be surprised if Russia’s tourism gets a bump; we can’t be the only ones dreaming of Russia after seeing Anna Karenina. Moscow is on Andrew Zimmern’s bucket list, is it on yours?