Igor Krutoy, Lara Fabian and Alan Badoev's "Mademoiselle Zhivago": A Clip-by-Clip Description - Part 3.

"Ever Land" - The Best of Mankind At The Worst Of Times

Lara Fabian in Mademoiselle Zhivago.
Lara Fabian in Mademoiselle Zhivago. | Source

There are few things that can impact life as intensely as war. Mademoiselle Zhivago reminded us of this in "Lou" and here, in "Ever Land", does it again, in an apocalyptic scenario where surviving is the top priority. Still, even in the midst of the most violent of situations, can there be room for compassion and morality? This clip answers this question affirmatively.

"Ever Land" shows us a very pregnant woman being carried in a car that, eventually, can no longer advance in its route and has no choice but to stop. As bullets fly around and bombs explode away, with the driver being killed in the process, the character has to find all the determination within her to keep herself and her baby alive.


"Ever Land".
"Ever Land". | Source

However, even as she runs, she doesn't turn her face away from a desperate boy nor from people trapped in a car, proving that, even at the worst of times, each one of us can exhibit profound courage and altruism. The boy himself shows his heart after a particularly intense explosion knocks down the woman, using all of his strength to move her around in a skate until doctors of an improvised medical facility take over. They move away with her and the boy is left to wander and observe the injured and the dying. It is only at the very end of the clip, after the raw display of a soldier's painful death, that the cries of the baby can be heard and the victorious smile of the mother can be seen. They won this war. Still, they may have lost something else, since we hear the woman asking for the doctors to make a phone call to her husband, but don't get to find out if he is, indeed, still alive.

This clip is one of the fan's favorites, but it's hardly perfect. The long intro did a great job setting the context and drawing the viewers in, but the song, "Ever Ever Land", easily takes one right out of it as soon as it starts, with its overly bubbly sound that does not go well with the intensity of the images. The song does talk about an inner place in someone's mind where one can detach from whatever's happening in the outside world - the lyrics fit in this context, as detachment can be the only way to survive. They just needed a different musical backdrop. It was also odd to see Lara Fabian put on a superhero face right before a huge explosion makes her fly across the area, as if she were expecting it and ready to embrace it. Considering that the explosion kept her from even standing up seconds later, the face did not help much. Finally, not showing the woman giving birth was somewhat unfortunate, as it is always an emotionally striking and beautiful image, but it is a perfectly understandable choice, intentionally made to leave people wondering whether or not the two would make it.

Lara Fabian in "Ever Land".
Lara Fabian in "Ever Land". | Source

"Mr. President" - Serious Warning In a Cheesy Wrapping

Lara Fabian in "Mr. President".
Lara Fabian in "Mr. President". | Source
Lara Fabian in "Mr. President".
Lara Fabian in "Mr. President". | Source

Mademoiselle Zhivago waited for the two last clips to become cheesy. In "Mr.President", the cheesiness may actually turn into a guilty pleasure instead of an unwelcomed visitor, since it does provide some breathing room from all the violence and/or sexuality of the previous clips and has many choir children dressed in pretty white clothes feeding our paternal/maternal instincts.

War is another one of M. Zhivago's central themes and it is approached from yet another perspective here. This clip's homonymous base song is an open letter to presidents around the world pleading for an end to "this madness" of war. Why? Because children (and not only) deserve a safe world to be born and grow in. Too many children have lost any sense of safety or stability and also the lives of their relatives or their own. Too many children have been forced into becoming young soldiers or end up growing into it and we do see their potential for the job in the clip, as paintball guns are shot by children across a stage, as part of a music school's show, where Fabian is the music teacher. Adults are the ones responsible for that violence among children and the need for a change is clear.

If you can handle and even enjoy the cheesiness (even including close-ups of Lara happily singing the words behind a piano - the only times we remember she exists, here), you will not find anything particularly wrong with "Mr. President". There is a spoken part of the song that randomly talks about climate change, very randomly, indeed. But it is a fact that presidents have the power to do something about that too, so why not tackle every problem at once in just one letter? Well, because it's random, one might say. I agree. I still secretly enjoyed this video.

"Winter's Bouquet" - Our Last Day Can Be Any Day

Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet".
Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet". | Source
Lara Fabian in "Winter's Bouquet".
Lara Fabian in "Winter's Bouquet". | Source
Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet".
Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet". | Source

"Winter's Bouquet" is still set in times of war, as seen by the casually strolling soldiers on the streets. However, that reality is not what the clip intends to highlight primarily. This clip, with the notable participation of the famous Ukrainian singer Max Barskih, intends to show how quickly all good things can come to an end, including love. What starts off as a good kind of cheesy love story unexpectedly takes a violent twist by the end, as Fabian's newly found love interest dies in the pursuit of one more encounter with her.


Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet".
Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet". | Source

Even though, at first sight, war is not the main aspect of this clip, the mid section of it is used to show the deep scars that it can leave in everyone that lives through it, from civilians (as the female character was) to soldiers (as the male love interest was). Even in a period of celebration, with fireworks in the sky, the characters could not help but draw a parallel with the explosions of bombs and missiles, with episodes of pure desperation under the bright lights of the pyrotechnical show. It is particularly distressing to watch the male character's display of this trauma, so perfectly hidden in his everyday life, but erupting in violent bouts of panic attacks during the night, when all of his mental defenses are down and his PTSD is free to invade his sleep.


Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet".
Lara Fabian and Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet". | Source

For the female character, this trauma can have yet another perspective to it, as her soul is supposed to have faced war several times before. The previous experiences of her soul are also relevant to explain her reaction to the unexpected death of her loved one, as this is the soul of a woman that had already suffered or observed several losses related to love. The violent murder of her lover in "The Same Karenin Family", the loss of her baby daughter in "Lou", the sacrifice of the addicted man in "Mademoiselle Hyde", the near-loss of her and her baby's life and the possible loss of her husband in "Ever Land" (the clip doesn't show it as a strong possibility, but who knows?)... This may very well be a disillusioned soul, one that, at this moment, no longer believes that anything can last forever. It is also a soul that needs to make sense out of all of her past memories and one would expect one final clip, after "Winter's Bouquet", to connect all of the previous stories, probably set to "Vocalise", the musical theme of transition, as seen in "The Same Karenin Family". As it is right now, Mademoiselle Zhivago does not have an ending, only an interruption, an absolutely unwelcomed one.

This was also a very good, touching clip, with good performances from the actors and great scenic elements. This is the clip where Igor Krutoy's work in the rearrangement of the songs, to better fit the visual dynamics, is the most obvious and the final result was flawless, as had already been, albeit more discreetly, for other clips.

Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet".
Max Barskih in "Winter's Bouquet". | Source

Conclusive Notes

Mademoiselle Zhivago could have been a masterpiece, but it is not, even with its many highs and few lows. It lacks the cohesiveness and logical sequencing of the stories that were predicted initially. Some of the stories themselves are actually missing, contributing to that feeling of having watched an incomplete story that many viewers will share.

Despite that, Lara Fabian impresses with her acting potential and Alan Badoev displays vast amounts of creativity and talent, respecting no boundaries when it comes to the way in which he conveys his messages. For some, that is good, for others, it is a shock - a visually arresting one, nonetheless. The music that inspires the stories is artfully crafted by Igor Krutoy and well adjusted to the Eastern European music scene, from where this project originates. The Western market may struggle with the overproduction in some of the tracks, but won't deny his ability to create musical landscapes. Lara Fabian, as a singer, has had nothing to prove for many years, aside from showing that she could maintain the high level of singing that has been associated with her ever since the start of her career. Challenge accepted: the voice remains absolutely spectacular. "Llora", "Mademoiselle Hyde" and "Vocalise", the latter barely heard in the video project, are the highlights of the album, vocally and musically.

This is definitely a project to discover and enjoy as much as their creators - especially Alan and Lara - will allow.

Also, discover the newest album of Lara Fabian, Le Secret

Mademoiselle Zhivago and other recommended works

Mademuazel' Zhivago (CD)
Mademuazel' Zhivago (CD)

The album that serves as the foundation for the entire project of Mademoiselle Zhivago. Discover the songs that inspired the videos.

 

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