IMDb > Umirayushchii lebed (1917)

Umirayushchii lebed (1917) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
17 January 1917 (Russia) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A grief-stricken ballerina becomes the obsession of an increasingly unhinged artist. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(8 articles)
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User Reviews:
Enjoyable first Russian film See more (9 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
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

Directed by
Yevgeni Bauer 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Zoya Barantsevich 

Produced by
Aleksandr Khanzhonkov .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Boris Zavelev 
 
Music Department
Philip Sheppard .... musician: cello (2002)
Jody Talbot .... musician: piano (2002)
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
49 min
Country:
Language:
Sound Mix:

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Enjoyable first Russian film, 10 December 2015

As Evgenii Bauer's first film, Twilight of A Woman's Soul shows much of the techniques and aesthetics that his later films would become known for. The acting is particularly strong on Nina Chernova's part, and her journey back to her home after committing a murder is jarring, slow, and haunting. She portrays the confusion and numbness and pure instinct that Vera surely feels after the altercation with Maxim. Natural lighting is utilized to its fullest, showing a dingy peasant world and a glimmering, dreamlike upper-class society. As the plot progresses, it's clear that the film lingers a little too much. However, it's worth the wait. Bauer makes a clear visual transition in the last 8 minutes; the only technical scene prior to this transition is a tinted nighttime sequence in Vera's bedroom, which adds a dreamy quality to the shot, and the gauzy curtains that cordon off the bed provide a delicate but clear boundary to separate Vera from the grittier world beyond it. The peasant Maxim breaks this wall to deliver a letter, as he will do so again when his actions thrust Vera into a darker, less fragile existence after he assaults her. In the last minutes of the film, Bauer creates a visual twilight as all of Vera's scenes are tinted; after facing the emotional trauma of rape and Dolskij's rejection of her, we see a darker soul than the aimless girl at the beginning of the film. Vera's wardrobe, too, shows this shift. Whereas earlier she wore white gowns suggesting purity, the first view the audience gets of her after her foray into acting is garbed in a metallic gown with a headdress; one can't help but be reminded of the appearance of armor. She is surely stronger than she was as a girl, as she tells Dolskij that she pities him when he cannot accept she is not chaste. While heavy on melodrama, the aesthetic value is worth waiting through the slow boiling and skimpy plot. It skims over heavy emotional issues, such as Vera's rape and the murder of Maxim, but at the time even the suggestions of these events were probably edgy; one also cannot expect the dialogue on rape victims' experiences to be very developed in 1917. Bauer sticks to his flair for the dramatic, and although an impressive cinematic debut, in modern times it appears as fluff, albeit aesthetically pleasing fluff.

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