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Umirayushchii lebed (1917)

A grief-stricken ballerina becomes the obsession of an increasingly unhinged artist.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Vera Karalli ...
Gizella - mute dancer
Aleksandr Kheruvimov ...
Gizella's Father
Vitold Polonsky ...
Viktor Krasovsky
Andrej Gromov ...
Valeriy Glinskiy - the artist
Ivane Perestiani ...
Glinskiy's friend
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Storyline

When Viktor meets Gizella one day beside the lake, he takes an interest in her and begins to call on her regularly. The one passion in the life of Gizella, who is unable to speak, is dancing. When Viktor deceives her and she finds him with another woman, she moves away and begins a career as a ballerina. Later, as she is on tour performing "The Dying Swan", the artist Glinskiy attends her performance. Glinskiy, whose own obsession is to depict death in his art, becomes fascinated by Gizella, and he is determined to use her as a model for a special project. Written by Snow Leopard

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17 January 1917 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Der sterbende Schwan  »

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User Reviews

 
BAUER'S GRISLY IRONIC ROMANCE EXCELLENT
23 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

Sadly, Yevgeni Bauer would die soon after this, a morbid reminder in and of itself that life sometimes reflects art first. And in viewing "Umirayushchii Lebed" it is nearly impossible to not think that Bauer was not influenced by the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe. There are too many parallels there. Particularly the influence of women on the lives of the two men.

While Bauer's earlier marks in film were more technical, it is the acting and Zoya Barantsevich's story that shines this time around. The cast is similar to his earlier "Posle Smerti" and again employs Vera Karalli as its star. Karalli plays a beautiful dancer (the dying swan) who tragically is also a mute. When the first suitor of her life breaks her heart a lonely artist becomes totally enthralled by her beauty as well...but in a completely different way.

Andrej Gromov plays this second of the two men in her life and does a masterful job of showing us an unhappy, dark, mysterious man-on-a-mission...for lack of a better term. The outdoor locations at the beginning of the film portray a happy world where the lovely Karalli lives with her loving father before her fateful meeting with Gromov. And once again Bauer shows us his fascination with dreams and their meaning, particularly as they coincide with the films ironic conclusion. And the film again features a nice score; this time by Joby Talbot and his violin-cello-piano trio.

The nutshell: not technically groundbreaking such as Bauer's "Posle Smerti" was but still comes across as more enjoyable because of its acting, storyline, and emotional response from the viewer. Again, not a feature length film but worth checking out...8/10.


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