This particular version of four hands versions was based on the 1865 novel Ledi Makbet Mtsenkogo Uyezda/Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nicolai Leskov and Dmitri Shostakovich's 1934 opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (also based on Leskov's work).
Wajda once more shows his enormous genius employing clever metaphors to illustrate more than a simple coincidence ; the presented dramatis personae with the opressiveand struggling situation in his beloved Poland .
Beware the Hungary invasion was very fresh in the mind of the world and the iron circle after Stalin death became in a sinister and invisible cloud surrounding all the possible stages . The music , litherature , painting suffered a crude isolating state .
Fortunately , the sixties signified a real breakthrough with the ancients state of things all around the world and this fact affected too the world behind the iron curtain . Poland was always le enfant terrible for the rest of the satellite countries of USSR.
Using the composer's music for the background, this crude tale was set in Yugoslavia during Czarist Russia. As you see Wajda avoids to establish a direct similarity with the real world . Left at home with her father in law when her husband is away on a prolonged trip, Katerina takes up with peasant workman Sergei. You will suposse what's going on . But the unthruth has short legs and her father in law discovers the affair and Katerina, with the help of her lover, poisons him. When her husband finally returns home, Katerina has fatal plans for him as well. As usual, Wajda aims for symbolic reflection; in this instance, the themes are of retribution and exile. And remind this hell atmosphere you had felt before in the Mahlerian Universe . It may be interesting to note that when Shostakovich wrote his opera, it was suppressed in the Soviet Union until one year before the release of this film, revived under the title, Katerina Izmaylova.
If you are looking for an incisive , crew and merciless reading of the Macbeth legend in the middle of the inmense Soviet landscape and besides to inmerse in the Russian mood with all its charm and horror , watch this jewel film .
A glorious masterpiece .