Maybe Laevsky, a gambling, reckless, and often inebriated civil service worker, didn’t have a plan when he ran away with Nadya, a married woman, to the Caucasus. I’m not sure if marriage, a family, or tending to the land was ever in Laesky’s mind. What’s important is that Laevsky has no intention to do any of those things now, especially with Nadya. When a letter arrives informing him that Nadya’s husband is dead, he needs a way out. Unfortunately, he does not have the funds to leave town and there is the issue of Van Koren. A scholar and moralist, Van Koren dislikes Laevsky and his influence on the town. There is more drinking, gambling, and improper behavior among the town’s inhabitants since he arrived. Also, Nadya has flirted, teased, and acted inappropriately with several men in town. When Laevsky insults a mutual friend over borrowing money to leave, it is too much for Van Koren. A challenge is accepted.
The Duel is beautifully filmed with vibrant colors and the seaside village in Croatia is a fantastic backdrop. There is also a quietness to the film that I appreciate. Although some critics dislike the slow pace of the film, I think the scenes are crafted and deliberate. I don’t think the film’s pace lagged and the duel scene was compelling. As I continue to think over the outcome of the duel and its meaning, I have concluded that I need to read Chekhov. It is a shame that I have ignored him for so long.