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 1930, a group of three Russians - Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Alexandrov, and Eduard Tisse - began an ambitious film in Mexico. A year later the backers halted the project before filming was complete.
In 1547, Ivan IV (1530-1584), archduke of Moscow, crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets about reclaiming lost Russian territory. In scenes of his coronation, his wedding to Anastasia, his campaign against the Tartars in Kazan, his illness when all think he will die, recovery, campaigns in the Baltic and Crimea, self-imposed exile in Alexandrov, and the petition of Muscovites that he return, his enemies among the boyars threaten his success. Chief among them are his aunt, who wants to advance the fortunes of her son, a simpleton, and Kurbsky, a warrior prince who wants both power and the hand of Anastasia. Ivan deftly plays to the people to consolidate his power. Written by
If Alexander Nevsky was a filmed opera, this one, the first part of Eisenstein's incomplete trilogy about the title character, looks more like a Stalinist version of a Shakespere play, with a lot of conspiracy and characters so desirous for power that are willing to do whatever it takes, but manichaeist and with almost undisguised propaganda of the infamous Russian dictator. Exactly for being theatrical, it is too formal, but it is so intense that it is impossible to be indifferent, the visual composition is extraordinary, using very well the light-and-shade game typical of the German Expressionism, the alternation between very open shots and close ups, and very rich costumes and set decoration. In the end, although it is not perfect, is a remarkable film that deserves all the praise it received.
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