A self-pitying but popular playwright drives to Vladimir to relax with a doting female student and another writer. He's convinced his writing is of no lasting value, but he still has an ego...
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A film-in-film story set in a provincial town in Russia. Pasha (Churikova) is an amateur actress who plays a witch at a local club, but her dream is to play Joan of Arc. In a strike of luck... See full summary »
Country girl Nadia moves to the city and becomes a maid in Valya's apartment. Valya, who is a member of the local District Committee, does not know that Nadia fell in love with her ... See full summary »
Matyora is a small village on a beautiful island with the same name. The existence of the village is threatened with flooding by the construction of a dam. This is the story of the ... See full summary »
Tamara and Sasha were separated during the war. Now (1957) Sasha is visiting Moscow for five days and by chance recognizes the house where Tamara used to live. She is still living there with her nephew Slava.
The defeat of the "White Army" in the Russian Civil War of 1918-21, causing massive emigration of the upper classes and nobility, called "White Russians". Set in Crimea, Constantinopol and ... See full summary »
A self-pitying but popular playwright drives to Vladimir to relax with a doting female student and another writer. He's convinced his writing is of no lasting value, but he still has an ego, about his work and his masculine appeal. He's drawn to a museum guide he sees on his first afternoon, and when she appears at dinner, he tries charm. She reads widely, knows his work, loved it once and now finds it trivial; and she says so. He's stung. The next day, they walk through a cemetery where she talks of a dead peasant's poems and he grabs an idea of hers as the theme for a new play. She remains indifferent; he's baffled. So that night he spies on her. All is revealed.Written by
"The Theme" is a film that had to stay on the shelf for almost ten years because of its "theme". Mikhail Ulyanov plays Kim Yesenin, a disillusioned and cynical playwright who uses the system by writing the conformist plays and enjoys the benefits of being the officially recognized and appointed "great Soviet writer" but who in reality has been used by a system and spent all the talent he ever had in writing the plays that had no artistic value whatsoever. Bitter irony lies in the name of the character: Sergei Yesenin was a real life enormously talented, widely popular and beloved Russian poet who committed suicide at the age of 30 in 1925 because he could not fit in the Soviet Russia. Kim Yesenin in the movie suffers the writing block and arrives to the small provincial town with a friend and a young mistress in search of inspiration. He meets an attractive, intelligent and well educated museum guide named Sasha (Inna Churikova never looked so beautiful and sophisticated and I finally understood why Panfilov always had been fascinated by her face, never conventionally pretty) who used to be a big fan of his earlier works but has a lot of unflattering things to say about his officially praised outings. Sasha is in love with a talented historian who had made a very difficult and life changing decision to emigrate from the Soviet Union. He had lost his job by becoming a dissident and had to work as a gravedigger to support himself while waiting for permission to leave the country. Those who never had to emigrate from their country knowing that they might leave forever and never be allowed to go back to see their loved ones and the places dear to their heart again would not fully understand why Panfilov's film had to stay on the shelf for almost ten year after it was completed. It was released only during the "perestroika" in 1987 and I saw it then. I respect Panfilov for his siding with the real artists rejected by the system but his film is not only a courageous statement against the conformity suffocating cultural life under the Brezhnev regime which would be later called "period zastoya" or "stagnation", it is a memorable work of cinema with very good performances from his muse, Inna Churikova, Mikhail Ulyanov, and supporting cast.
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