Madam Lyubov Ranevsky’s daughter, Anya, arrives in Paris to take her vulnerable, child-like mother back to Russia. Five years earlier, after the drowning of her young son. Lyubov had run away from the family estate, famous for its cherry orchard, and taken refuge in France with a lover who having bled her dry, eventually abandoned her.
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Several years ago, spurred by my deep admiration for Chekhov, I did an English translation of “The Cherry Orchard,” which many people consider to be his greatest play. It was exciting and rewarding to explore Chekhov’s unpretentious, totally accessible view of the human condition. I had already filmed the plays of another great playwright, Euripides, in which I tried to free myself from theatrical conventions. Since those movies won critical acclaim, garnered many prizes including an Oscar nomination, and attracted a worldwide cast, I decided to adapt “The Cherry Orchard” for the screen. I followed the same approach, remaining faithful to the spirit of the original even as I took certain liberties – replacing words with images, widening the scope of the action every time plot and author’s intentions allowed. The result is a movie based on a literary source rather than simply “filmed theater.”
Michael Cacoyannis, director (excerpt from press kit).