I don’t normally care much for movies about the lives and manners of aristocratic families. But this family in Idiot is fun to watch. I’m not sure how much of the credit should go to Dostoevsky and how much to the filmmakers, but together they made these people interesting. It isn’t just the individuals, but the inter-generational interactions that draw us in. There is some of your typical youthful rebellion, but the whole of the relationship between parents and children goes a lot deeper than that.
In this scene, General Yepanchin (nicely played by Oleg Basilashvili) while not clueless, is also not quick to understand what’s happening with his daughter. His wife, played by Inna Mikhailovna Churikova, is trying to signal him behind her back not to take her reaction wrongly.
Churikova’s character is one of several highlights of this TV series. She’s made up to look like a severe aristocratic mother, and has moments when she does indeed act the part of a domineering matriarch. But even when she does she’s an instant away from being as childlike (in many ways) as Prince Myshkin had judged her to be. This is definitely not a stereotypical role.