Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Being A Dompteuse de Cirque Is One Answer

Just how would you go about your life were you the daughter of one of history's, shall we say, less warm-and-fuzzy characters?

Maria (1898-1977) ...

... and her younger sister Varvara were the two daughters of Gregori Rasputin and are perhaps photographed here with their father ...

Maria's less than commonplace story is told in an excellent French documentary I was watching last night - 'Memoires d'Exil: L'autre Russie', which can be found in seven parts on You Tube or alternatively at (LINK).

It examines the phenomenon of the White Russian exile, where there is not only separation from country but from a class culture that in fact no longer exists - except in the hot house form of expatriate communities.

There are interviews with a number of descendants of that part of the aristocracy which survived the Revolution. And a great deal of archival film I've not seen before.

Extraordinarily, there is extant footage of Maria Rasputin.

First, she is seen filmed in an open courtyard - at a distance and then closer up. Rather unfortunately, the script writers of this documentary attempt to find in the footage a hypnotic stare to consolidate Maria's connection to the 'mad monk' ...

Rasputin's daughter must have been somewhat complicit in this as she planned her future to depend on the connection.

We then see Maria working life as a 'Dompteur de Cirque' ('Circus Animal Trainer') ...

... with some wonderful close ups towards the end ...

Of course a post like this would be nothing without the footage itself and so without further delay ...


Hope you find Maria Rasputin as compelling and sympathetic as I did.

And in fact, the whole of 'Memoires d'Exil: L'autre Russie' is well worth the watch.


A while back I did a post - 'A Real Cracker of a Story' (LINK) - around an interview in 1967 with Prince Felix Yusupov and his wife Princess Irina Alexandrovna, niece of Tsar Nicholas II.

I thought I'd post the interview again here ...

video video

... as it was the Prince who, with accomplices, assassinated Rasputin.

And it was in this year of his death that he first publicly talked about this momentous event.

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