Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his ... See full synopsis »
Outskirts is an internationally renowned masterpiece of early sound cinema. In a remote Russian village during World War I, colorful and nuanced characters experience divided loyalties: ... See full summary »
A five-person team of gold prospectors in the Yukon has just begun to enjoy great success when one of the members snaps, and suddenly kills two of the others. The two survivors, a husband ... See full summary »
In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in ... See full summary »
Sergei M. Eisenstein
In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around... See full summary »
Wandering minstrel Ashik Kerib falls in love with a rich merchant's daughter, but is spurned by her father and forced to roam the world for a thousand and one nights - but not before he's ... See full summary »
With an international chess tournament in progress, a young man becomes completely obsessed with the game. His fiancée has no interest in it, and becomes frustrated and depressed by his ... See full summary »
José Raúl Capablanca,
Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his life trying to find... See full synopsis »
Fascinating for Silent & Russian film enthusiasts - others, probably not.
Looking at the few reviews I've read, I'd like to strike a balance. I'd just bought the recently issued 3 film boxed set of Dovzhenko's War Trilogy, of which, this is the start. I bought the set as it was an absolute bargain, making it little more than the fairly well-known 'Earth' that I'd heard about and wanted to see.
Firstly, I took 'cinematic poetry' to be just that, images and scenes that evoked a story rather than simply reciting it in the usual way. Thus heavy symbolism plays a huge part and I have to disagree with those that say one has to know the subject to appreciate it. I use that word, 'appreciate' rather than 'understand' and it is the very nature of the genre here, known as 'avant-garde' that further takes into realms of fantasy, or, pretentious waffle, if that's how you take it.
Avant-garde is not my favourite genre either but when you consider that this is still the Silent Era - normality would be having a fixed camera, on a studio set and the actors moving around in front of it, in all but the most expensive and adventurous productions. The Russians, at this point, as well some notable German film-makers were doing much more and experimenting with double exposures, cutting, fading, all-sorts, simply to extend both the boundaries of their imagination and cinematic technology.
Of course, film has moved on an awfully long way and so has people's entertainment. These moving images are both historical; a recreated scenario now wouldn't anywhere near the same authenticity - and human. As in stills photography of those days, it is capturing people and their lives that would have seemed so special and fascinating, marrying that up with story-telling would take longer as both film-makers and the public got used to this exciting, new medium. Marx unashamedly exploited artists of all kinds for propaganda purposes and these have, understandably, been seen in a bad light in the West, but thank goodness now, we are finally seeing them for what they are, not were - pioneering and hugely influential.
I'm no historian or film expert and in effect, I haven't really reviewed the title itself but hopefully cast a light on it as a subject. However, I would say that the Mr Bongo reproduction, from the restored print is very good, with hardly a blemish and features a new(?) stereo orchestral score.
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