7.0/10
642
9 user 5 critic

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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Drama

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Release Date:

17 January 1917 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Der sterbende Schwan  »

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User Reviews

Well-Crafted & Memorable Psychological Melodrama
28 June 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Yevgeni Bauer's "The Dying Swan" is a finely-crafted melodrama that involves all of your emotions, making the viewer not just a witness to, but a part of the psychological struggles of its characters. The story idea is an interesting one, and the script very nicely adapts the idea to the silent screen.

There are essentially only five characters in the story, yet they present a finely-tuned balance between the three ordinary, predictable characters and the two creative geniuses who live for their art. The ballerina Gizella and the artist Glinskiy are both very interesting, and with Bauer's expert guidance the actors (Vera Karalli, who contributes an enchanting ballet sequence, and Andrei Gromov) bring them to life effectively. The artist character is especially nicely drawn, highly eccentric and obsessive, yet with enough balance to make sure that he does not become a stereotype. The other three characters are used effectively as a balance, both in the story developments and in establishing the personalities of the two leads.

Bauer's technique, as always, shows a sure hand, using special techniques at the right places. The dream sequence is particularly affecting, with an atmosphere carefully established, the camera slowly drawing away from Gizella's bed, and then the dream itself using some creative visuals.

The story of love and obsession draws you in almost effortlessly, and it's not possible to pull back, even when the sense of foreboding becomes almost unbearable. As a whole, it's a tightly constructed movie that makes a memorable impression.


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