Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lines from movie: Catherine the Great

I recently watched this made-for-TV movie that came out in 2000 and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I thought that, given the 100 minutes they had and the obviously low budget, the writers did a superb job of reflecting the most important part of Empress Catherine's personal and professional life, especially her difficulty of acting as a disciple of the Enlightenment in the brutish Russian nation.  Below are some lines which I believe reflect her true feelings about Russian serfdom.

Pugachev:  You’re gonna have my head, aren’t you?
Empress Catherine:  I don’t know.
Pugachev:  You’d be wise to, because if you don’t, I will have yours.
Empress Catherine:  Is that what you do?  If I kept you here or exiled you, you’d have my head?  Why?
Pugachev:  Is it right, that human souls should be bought and sold like animals?
Empress Catherine:  No.
Pugachev:  Is it right that millions should starve, so their masters could grow fat?
Empress Catherine:  No.
Pugachev:  Isn’t what you call your empire an abomination?
Empress Catherine:  And what would you put in its place?  You kill.  You burn.  You destroy.  But what would you put in its place?  What would you build?
Pugachev:  Man is born equal, but is everywhere in chains.
Empress Catherine:  Rousseau.
Pugachev:  I don’t know who said it, lady, but it is God’s word.  You ask me what I would build, I will tell you.  I would build a new world where every man is free, where all men were equal, that’s what I would build.
Empress Catherine:  On the ruins of the old?
Pugachev:  To build a house you must first level the ground.
Empress Catherine:  Oh no, you lay foundations.
—Lines from movie Catherine the Great (2000).  A&E.

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