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(aka 'The Woman with the 5 Elephants')

Directed by Vadim Jendreyko
Switzerland / Germany 200


A revelatory investigation into language, meaning and the tides of history, The Woman with the Five Elephants unravels the mystery behind the life and work of Svetlana Geier, the world’s greatest translator of Russian literature. Geier’s renown stems from her groundbreaking translations of Dostoevsky’s five great novels – referred to as the five elephants. But her great success has come with its share of loss. Born in Ukraine in 1923, she witnessed first-hand the impact of Stalin’s purges. As a young girl, she watched Nazi forces occupy her country and execute 30,000 Jews. It was her unique gift for languages that ultimately saved her. But it forced her to make a choice that forever altered her life.


Theatrical Release: August 11th, 2009 - Locana Film Festival

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DVD Review: Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:30:09 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio German (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Guild

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Deleted Scenes (24:53)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:59)
• Bonus Short: Portrait (2002, 28:37), an award-winning short film from Russian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa

DVD Release Date:
February 21st, 2012
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Super documentary with an affable and highly interesting person relating fascinating details of important historical value.

The Cinema Guild 1.78:1 DVD is dual-layered and supports a fine video presentation of the film.  Quality is very strong for the SD format and the vintage photos even look excellent. It seemed as good as it could get. The consistent audio is unremarkable but the transfer produced a clean and clear track. Optional English subtitles support the, mostly, German dialogue on the region 1, NTSC DVD.

Extras include 25-minutes of relevant Deleted Scenes - for those who would like to continue the conversation. There is also a great short - a award-winning 1/2 hour film from Russian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa entitled Portrait from 2002. There is also a theatrical trailer.

Wonderful film and in a great package from Cinema Guild. This is part of the absolute joy of the DVD format - being able to see something of this engrossing nature - that I never would have even been aware of, before. For any who might be keen - this is strongly endorsed.

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC

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