When Michael Cacoyannis wrote and directed this film, he was at the age of 77, and this is his last work. "The Cherry Orchard" is the final play by the greatest Russian writer and playwright, Anto Chekhov, and one year after this play was published and transformed into stage, Chekhov died of tuberculosis. There must be a reason for the renowned non-English writer to choose such classic as his last play for the stage.
Chekhov always regards "The Cherry Orchard" as a comedy, while everyone else, whether it were the theatrical directors during his time or the audience at contemporary world all think otherwise, same as our director of this filme. You sense no bit of snarky humor, happiness for the new era or even slightest comedic element of certain movement or action of the actors or actress, even though in the play the performance were supposed to be funny. The world gives hundreds of different versions of interpretation on why Chevhov relentlessly characterized his work as comedy. Yet, from the film, we can easily tell that the film is disipated with the director's sorrows and regrets for the good old days and agony for his helplessness and vexation for the changes, no matter how faithful and scrupulously he seemed to have accord with the original play from lines and setting.
I agreed with one of Rotten Tomatoes comment that "it drags along in drenched-in-the-past numbness", especially the last 40 minutes, which dedicated solely to the goodbye-again-again-goodby to the Orchard. Although out of Chekhov's original four-act drama, the last act also solely describes the leaving of the Cherry Orchard, it does not sound too tedious and dull. However, when the act was cut into various cinemapieces and when every piece still only conveyed pity and sympathy of the past glory, it easily irritated the audience. After all, from the begining, we know the idea of the film is the long-streching story of let go of the past and we don't need a seemingly climax to just officially memorialize the past. But somehow, after knowing that it was the last work of the famous director in his late seventy, all becomes tolerable, understandable and more grateful.
The acting of each cast is so vivid that you almost can feel the characters from the book jumped in front of you and everyone of them lived up to my imagination. And they so scrupulously performs in accordance with the guidance provided by the original plays through the modern cinematography. Sometimes I feel a bit illusional that they were on the stage in a real play. Maybe this is also the reason why some of the modern audience cannot accept the way the film was built and paced.