Anton Chekhov’s The Duel (2009)

ANTON CHEKHOV'S THE DUEL, Andrew Scott, 2009. ©Highline Pictures
ANTON CHEKHOV’S THE DUEL, Andrew Scott, 2009. ©Highline Pictures


Anton Chekhov authored his novella The Duel in 1891; one of the longest of the Russian master’s tales, it pits an aristocratic ne’er-do-well named Laevsky against a conceited and slightly arrogant scientist called Von Koren, and witnesses a climactic physical struggle between the two men. This film adaptation from Georgian director Dover Kosashvili follows the original text with remarkable fidelity; in it, Laevsky (Andrew Scott) clings to ephemeral pleasures such as drinking, gambling, and romancing his alluring mistress, Nadya (Fiona Glascott), in the Russian provinces — putting all of the said pursuits far ahead of disciplined action — but he soon grows listless and disenchanted with Nadya, falls into financial ruin, and ultimately must fight Von Koren in a vicious duel thanks to Nadya’s sexual liaisons with the man.

The Duel 2006