Herr Polikushka is a poor Russian servant with a huge family and a
special fondness for vodka, that is to say, a Bolshevist paradigm; He
works for a noblewoman who, after so many problems with him in the
estate (ah, the eternal problems with the servants; Russia is no
different from Germany in that respect ), decides to put him to a test:
She entrusts him to go to a certain merchant in the next town and
collect- MEIN GOTT!!- a very important sum of money!.
"Polikushka" was the only film directed by Herr Aleksandr Sanin, one of
Moscow Art Academic Theatre's founders, and is based on Herr Lev
Tolstoy's homonym short story. In spite the many differences between
the literary oeuvre and its film adaptation ( Tolstoy's short story
includes valuable social aspects about Polikushka's background that
help to comprehend and understand his actions ) it is a remarkable work
that is outstanding for its depiction of the cruel realities of Russian
society -the harsh life condition of its main character and his family
in contrast to the wealth of his mistress; the daily life at the
marketplace or the outcasts in their lodgings. Thus in addition to its
artistic merit, the film has the opportunity to denounce injustices and
the submission of the lower classes.
The film as the story leaves no room for hope, redemption or a glimpse
of a better future life for Polikushka, although the film includes at
the end a slight chance of revenge for its main character. Still,
Polikushka is condemned to a life of endless misery. Remarkable is Herr
Ivan Moskvin performance as Polikushka; he plays that innocent servant
and his particular fall to hell with total conviction, sharing his
miseries with the audience in every scene. Probably, the fact that Herr
Moskvin was a Herr Stanislavsky follower helped him to get into his
character so successfully.
In spite the many difficulties that the crew suffered during the
filming, ( shooting during winter in Russia with scarce resources is a
terrible thing even for people who are long used to it ) "Polikushka"
had international success and was considered as one of the most
important films of that year, a fair reward for a film that implicitly
offers the audience the most classical and artistic virtues of the
genuine Russian culture.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because
this German Count must talk with that Russian mistress about the best
Teutonic way to deal with the servants.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien
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