Ross hosts ‘Last Station’

Mar 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, Issue, March 11, 2010

“The Last Station,” a complex and emotional tale of two romances, opens March 12 at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.

Nominated for two Academy Awards, “The Last Station” features Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy and Helen Mirren as Tolstoy’s wife Sofya. After almost 50 years of marriage, the Countess Sofya suddenly finds her world turned upside down. In the name of Tolstoy’s newly created religion, the great Russian novelist has renounced his noble title, his property and even his family in favor of poverty, vegetarianism and even celibacy.

Sofya is consumed by outrage when she discovers that Tolstoy’s trusted disciple, Vladimir Chertkov – whom she despises – may have secretly convinced Tolstoy to sign a new will. Using every bit of cunning, every trick of seduction in her considerable arsenal, she fights fiercely for what she believes is rightfully hers.

The Last Station
Tolstoy (right, played by Christopher Plummer) and his assistant walk a path in a scene from “The Last Station.” The Academy Award-nominated film opens March 12 at the Ross.

Into this minefield wanders Tolstoy’s naive new assistant, Valentin Bulgakov. He becomes a pawn, first of the scheming Chertkov and then of the wounded, vengeful Sofya as each plots to undermine the others’ gains. Complicating Valentin’s life even further is the overwhelming passion he feels for Masha, a free-thinking adherent of Tolstoy’s ideals whose unconventional attitudes toward sex and love compel and confuse him.

For the performance, Mirren received an Academy Award nomination for best actress; Plummer for best supporting actor.

Also opening March 12 at the Ross is “Séraphine,” a French film that captures one woman’s experience with art, religion and mental illness.

“Séraphine” is the true story of Séraphine Louis aka Séraphine de Senlis (played by Yolande Moreau), a simple and devout housekeeper who in 1905 at age 41 began painting brilliantly colorful canvases.

In 1912 Wilhelm Uhde (Ulrich Tukur), a German art critic and collector, discovered her paintings while she worked for him as a maid. Uhde became her patron and grouped her work with other naïve painters.

Norman Geske will lead a movie talk on “Séraphine” at 4 p.m. March 14. The talk follows the 1:50 p.m. screening of the film. The talk is free and open to the public. Admission to the movie is at regular Ross prices.

Geske was involved in the creation of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. He served as the museum’s first director and retired in 1983.

“Séraphine” is showing at the Ross through March 18. “The Last Station” shows through March 25.

For more information, including show times, go to or call the film information line 472-5353.

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