Between Tolstoj and Rosaleva. Different notes for the same Sonata

Luisa Cutzu


The purpose of this article is to analyse the television film La sonata a Kreutzer, directed by Gabriella Rosaleva in 1985, and compare it to both the adapted source novella The Kreutzer Sonata (Tolstoy 1989), and with Tolstoy’s and his wife Sofja Tolstaya’s personal diaries.

Rosaleva, an experimental author in the Eighties and Nineties, came to work on La sonata a Kreutzer due to the thematic correlation the novella had to her previous work. The novella’s exploration of music, feelings, and death were already widely addressed in Rosaleva's existing filmography, in particular her first short films shot on Super 8.

La sonata a Kreutzer was written by Rosaleva and Paola di Monreale with the primary purpose to remain as faithful as possible to Tolstoy’s novella. The article will offer a comparative analysis of some of the key sequences in the film and novella, to emphasise their similarities and differences.

The comparison, however, does not only look to measure the fidelity of the film itself, but instead will look to examine Rosaleva’s own work as a director. Specifically, how she works within the strictures of adapting a classic text such as The Kreutzer Sonata.


Gabriella Rosaleva; Lev Tolstoj; Sonata a Kreutzer; adaptation; 1980s Italian cinema

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/8464


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