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Testimony (1987)

The story of the great Soviet Composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) and his life and career during the rule of Stalin.

Director:

Tony Palmer
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Kingsley ... Dmitri Shostakovich
Sherry Baines ... Nina Shostakovich
Magdalen Asquith Magdalen Asquith ... Galya Shostakovich
Mark Asquith Mark Asquith ... Maxim Shostakovich
Terence Rigby ... Joseph Stalin
Ronald Pickup ... Marshall Tukhachevsky
John Shrapnel ... Andre Zhdanov
Robert Reynolds Robert Reynolds ... Brutus
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Gargolovsky
Colin Hurst Colin Hurst ... Stalin's Secretary
Joyce Grundy Joyce Grundy ... Stalin's Mother
Mark Thrippleton Mark Thrippleton ... Young Stalin
Liza Goddard Liza Goddard ... The English Humanist
Peter Woodthorpe ... Alexander Glazunov
Robert Stephens ... Vsevolod Meyerhold
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Storyline

The story of the great Soviet Composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) and his life and career during the rule of Stalin.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Testemunho See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last theatrical movie of William Squire (Khatchaturyan). See more »

Goofs

At 1:41:24, during the press conference in New York, the character seated beside Robert Urquhart has an unmistakably 1980s haircut, although the scene takes place in 1949. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Dmitri Shostakovich: Ask me nothing any more. Ask the music.
See more »

Crazy Credits

By the time of his death, August 9, 1975, Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich, People's Artist of the Soviet Union, had completed 15 Symphonies, 15 String Quartets, 4 Operas and 45 Ballets and Film Scores; in all, at least 147 works. By the time of his death, March 5, 1953, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Marshal of the Soviet Union, had murdered, or caused to be put to death, in peacetime, in all, at least 30 million people. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The movie is not recognizable from Volkov's book of sarcasm!
6 December 2009 | by alanhemenwaySee all my reviews

Volkov's book, by the same title, is a collection of sarcasms, unique to Russians, about living under the Soviet system. Except for use of sarcasm in the script, the book has no relationship to this very complicated movie. Some of these comments here, seem like they came from folks who have not read the book.

The movie is hard to categorize. I have never seen anything like it. Tony Palmer is a genius! I met Shostakovich in about 1960 when he attended, I think Meistersinger, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. From my impression of Shostakovich, I felt that Ben Kingsley had somehow studied the man and connected with him, Kingsley being as ideal as you would expect, such as his preparation and ability to portray Gandhi.

This movie is certainly for insiders; still there were a few things I didn't quite understand. I think perhaps the surreal moments had to do with the vanity of a pretentious society and it futility, such as his playing a keyboard on a raft in the fog and capsizing, or him walking among the clowns coming at you on the sidewalk.

Tony Palmer and Ben Kingsley got me very deep into the Shostakovich pathos and the conditions under which he survived, and I haven't been the same since.

The DVD has been released and there should be copies on eBay. I am disappointed that the DVD was not mastered from a better copy of the movie. I once had a pristine copy that I taped off of PBS. I loaned it to a noted conductor and never got it back.


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