U samogo sinego morya (1936) Poster

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Unfamiliar Russian thirties film proves endearing.
Mozjoukine12 December 2003
Boris Barnet's films are not the easiest to track, down so I have no idea how representative this one is of that lesser know celebrity of the Soviet Industry.

BY THE BLUEST OF SEAS however proves to be a pleasant surprise and pleasant is a surprise among these - no invaders driven back into the sea, now vicious landowners, no loving portrait of a national military leader.

Filmed in glowing sunshine, spaced by a menacing storm, it covers the two sailors banded up with the Caspian "Light of Communism" (well what to you expect?) fishing co-op who divide their time between making the boats run and competing for the lanky blond chair-lady of the board. The three leads are appealing, slim and unconventional and we enjoy our time with them. The storm is filmed with some ingenuity, with the cabin tilting in some sound stage machine and the ocean pounding the deck.

The story is pretty slight and finally propagandist, with the blond remaining faithful to her sailor fiancé off battling the nation's maritime enemies, but it never has the heavy handedness of the body of the Russian product which survives.

Things are helped by an excellent mid tone copy.
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8/10
Art transcending propaganda
leoperu31 December 2012
It's difficult for me to judge Rivette's statement about Boris Barnet having been the greatest of Soviet filmmakers after Eisenstein ; I definitely prefer his works to Eisenstein's or let's say Pudovkin's.

"U samogo sinyego morya" ("By the Bluest of Seas"), a cheerful poetic miniature capturing skirmishes between love and friendship, abounds in crystal clear simplicity and heartfelt humour. In addition to these, we get more than a couple of credible faces (the one of Yelena Kuzmina in particular), a lot of nice songs, and last but not least the most impressive shots of breakers which I have ever encountered on screen.

Some reviewers didn't see any Soviet propaganda in the movie. I must disagree : the scenery upon which the personal storyline unfolds evidently promotes period collectivism,a.o. No wonder, then. However, art in Barnet's rendering transcends everything else.

The transfer on Mr.Bongo's recent release seems quite good ; regrettably no extras were taken from the original Ruscico version.
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8/10
Cute Commies Sing, Play and Work on the Shore of the Caspian Sea
vwild1 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
By the Bluest of Seas is a surprisingly warm and funny film from Soviet Russia. The story is rather slight. Two shipwrecked sailors wash up on an island in the Caspian Sea, set to work for the local fishing commune and vie for the affections of a local lass. There are jokes and songs, all handled with a light and joyful touch. Meanwhile the sun beats down, the wind blows and the waves roll, and this looks wonderful. You can almost feel the warmth and taste the salt. The small issue of who gets the girl brings the odd shadow, but all in all life on the commune is just grand. And that's about it apart from a tiresome communist moral at the end, which I suppose qualifies as propaganda, but is only as intrusive as the moral correctives at the end of Hollywood movies of the same period. By the Bluest of Seas is a tremendously warm hearted film that seems to come from a different world to the well known Soviet classics of the 20s and 30s.
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Surprisingly Pleasant, Poetic Film from Soviet Russia
JohnHowardReid26 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This Russian film directed by Boris Barnet in 1935 seems to be available only on a Bach Films DVD with French sub-titles. Fortunately, there is not a great deal of dialogue, so even those with limited Russian and/or French should encounter little difficulty in relating to it. And it is a beautiful movie, with truly inspiring photography, that is worth relating to, despite the occasional adherence or lip service to the party line.

The story is a simple one. Two shipwrecked sailors, played by blond hero Nikolai Kryuchkov and clownish Lev Sverdlin, are washed up on an island in the Caspian Sea. Fortunately, it's not only inhabited but has a small fishing co-operative, headed by Semyon Svashenko, so our boys soon find work. But more importantly – at least so far as Nikolai and Lev are concerned – the island boasts a female doer and leader in the lovely form (at least to the eyes of two shipwrecked sailors) of Yelena Kuzmina.

But don't pay too much mind to the forever blustering hero, or the pitiable, self-pitying, droopy-eyed clown, or even the passably attractive but somewhat careworn (and definitely no glamour model) heroine. It's the photography that counts, the mise en scène, the surge of the waves, the tilting sky, the sunlit sands. If ever a movie was a visual poem, a constant but ever-changing delight to the eye, that movie is Au Bord de la Mer Bleue. And it runs just long enough not out-stay its welcome!
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5/10
Not the masterpiece some claim it to be.
Martin Bradley21 September 2015
There isn't a great deal to the Russian 'classic' "By the Bluest of Seas" other than its remarkable use its location around the Caspian Sea and yet its reputation among cineastes is extremely high. Unlike the propaganda films of Eisenstein and Dovzhendo, this is a simple love story and a tale of friendship that owes more to Hollywood than to early Russian cinema.

Two sailors are washed up on an island where they both fall for the same girl, thus testing their friendship. It's a very simple-minded picture, luminously photographed by Mikhail Kirillov, charming enough in itself but hardly worth the critical plaudits that have been heaped on it.
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4/10
It ain't all that...
Leofwine_draca24 September 2015
You know, I love watching early cinema. Those German Expressionist silents are still fantastic for the modern viewer to watch and the 1930s was a decade chock-full of excellence. Sadly, BY THE BLUEST OF SEAS is a rather dull affair, one of those art-house movies that's raved over by the critics but actually turns out to be pretty dull and insubstantial when it comes down to it.

The story is nothing more than a simple love triangle between a couple of fishermen and the girl they both fall in love with. The acting is so minimalist as to be non-existent and the story that plays out is simplistic so that there's barely enough material for the short running time. What the film does benefit from is some very nice cinematography that makes the best of the locations (this was filmed in Azerbaijan on the shores of the Caspian Sea) but of course given the title colour is necessary to make this a truly great-looking production. BY THE BLUEST OF SEAS is nothing special, I'm afraid.
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