This film is a fascinating example of turning good literature into fine cinema. Director Nikolai Trachtenberg is not widely known. In fact, I have no idea if he made other films.
After viewing this film some 20 years ago in New Delhi, I had to draw parallels with Ridley Scotts' "The Duellists," based on Joseph Conrad's written work. What Scott could not achieve Trachtenberg mustered with elan. The music of Katchaturian (Karen, not Elam) adds color to the fascinating film.
Like Tarkovsky, Paradjanov, and Kozintsev, the former Sovexportfilm of USSR kept their films under wraps as these were not "acceptable" filmmakers. I remember having found this film was gathering dust in the "House of Soviet Culture" in the early Eighties. An official had to be persuaded to show this film on a quiet evening to the public. And what a treat it turned out to be! The print is probably still lying there as the West has not discovered Trachtenberg.
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