MOVIE CLASSICS ROLL INTO THE DIGITAL ERA
by MARIA PASHOLOK

The Daily Telegraph
May 31, 2011 Tuesday
Edition 1; National Edition

Cinema British Film Institute season launches a six-month celebration
of the Russian film industry

>From silent classics to the theageoftheauteur.the best Russian films
of the past 100 years are now being showcased in Britain.

The British Film Institute (BET) is showing an unprecedented
retrospective of Russian and Soviet films featuring classic and
contemporary movies spanning more than a century of cinema.

Billed as KinO (the half-Russian name given to the project is
pronounced Kino, meaning cinema in Russian), the sixmonth event is
big and bold, say the organisers, and brings the best of the past and
present to British screens. "Kino is huge and epic in its scope, and
it covers the whole spectrum, from classic icons of Russian heritage
right the way through to contemporary films," said the BFTs director,
Amanda Nevill.

In a three-year project, the organisers of KinO have collected,
restored and brought back to life not only the gems of Russian
cinematography but also the best original versions of the pictures,
from the classics of early silent movies to notable works from the
age of the auteur.

The flagship of the project is one of the all-time classics -
Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925), which has particular
resonance for its British fans: praised in Europe after its release,
it was banned in Britain until 1954. "It seems the whole British
Army would crumble like a house of cards just from the single word
'Potemkin'," critics wrote in the Twenties as they ridiculed the
government's decision to ban Eisenstein's masterpiece.

The restored and digitalised version of the film has been released in
eight British cinemas and art centres and is accompanied by the music
Edmund Meisel played at its world premiere in Berlin in 1925."It's
what we love doing here: we like to put things together that you
couldn't get anywhere else,"the BFI director enthused.

In 2005, the Berlin Film Ifestival premiered the film's restored
version, which featured lost footage and captions, in particular the
censored words of Leon Trotsky in the prologue and out-takes from
the scene on the Potemkin Steps in Odessa, one of the most iconic in
film history.

In addition, the Pioneers of Russian Film series, which will run for
the first two months of the season, will show little-known Soviet
films of the Twenties and Thirties, including Third Meshchanskaya
Street (Menage a Trois, 1927) by Abram Room andViktor Shklovsky.

Depicting the touching story of the experience of living together in
Moscow during the New Economic Policy, the film was banned in Russia
and Europe for its relatively risque content.

Moviegoers can also take in the subtle comedies of Boris Barnet,
including the most popular film of the Twenties, The House an Trubnaya
(1928), which portrays the difficulties of life in Moscow for people
from the provinces.

There are also films from a pioneer of global documentaries, Dziga
Vertov, including his avante-garde Man with a Movie Camera (1929),
as well as less well-known work such as his first experiments with
sound in film-Viewers will also be treated to a special showing of The
Heir of Genghis Khan (1928) by Vsevolod Pudovkin with the original
film score, and Mikhail Kalatozov's Palme d'Or winning post-Second
World War drama The Cranes Are Flying (1957).

The second part of the KinO programme, titled "Cosmos',' is devoted to
the conquest of space by Soviet film-makers, and includes remarkable
film chronicles of man's first space flights, including the Armenian
director Artavazd Peleshyan's documentary Our Century, the stark and
challenging philosophical parables of Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker and
Solaris, and Georgi Daneliya's satirical sci-fi film Kin-Dza-Dza.

This ambitious Russian invasion of British cinema screens will conclude
with the first retrospective in the United Kingdom of the films of
Alexander Sokurov - who turns 60 this summer and will come to London
in November to introduce his works.

Another intriguing facet of the Kino season is a DVD series, The Soviet
Influence. Each disc in the series will consist of a Soviet film and
a handful of renowned films which were influenced and inspired by
the first movie.

Judging from the buzz on the South Bank in London, the organisers of
the KinO programme are proud of what they have achieved in putting
together a wide-ranging tribute to Russian cinema.

"I think the BFI is probably the only place on the planet that could
have the ambition to put together a film season with such scope as
this," said Ms Nevill.

CHAPAYEV

DIRECTORS: GEORGY AND SERGEI

VASHJEV.AT BFI JUNE 12 AND15

Based on the diaries of a political commissar who worked with the Red
Army commander Vasili Chapayev during the Civil War, this became a
"model" Soviet film of the Thirties for its vivid portrayal of heroism
and leadership. Its characters spawned numerous Soviet-era jokes.

SPRING

DIRECTOR: GRIGORI ALEKSANDROV.

AT BFI JUNE 24 AND 28

Imagine Fellini remaking Ninotchka: this last of the Aleksandrov-Orlova
fantasy musicals is full of crazy charm. Lyubov Orlova plays both
a scientist and the actress due to play her; the director who falls
for his subject is none other than Nikolai Cherkasov - Eisenstein's
Nevsky and Ivan.

ALEXANDER NEVSKY

DIRECTOR: SERGEI EISENSTEINL

AT BFI JUNE 21 AND 26

This patriotic paean to the saintly medieval prince of Novgorod rescued
Eisenstein from the chill of Stalin's disapproval. Newly allied with
Prokofiev, he created a magnificent medieval world that would influence
countless later historical films (including Olivier's Henry V).

OUTSKIRTS

DIRECTOR: BORIS BARNET...

AT BFI JUNE 3 AND 9

Chronicling the impact of the Revolution and the Second World War on
a sleepy town, this series of sight (and sound) gags builds into one
of the best early Soviet sound films. A rare, almost Chekhovian,
celebration of everyday life, despite the obligatory heroics of
socialist realism.

For more about the Russian cinema season at BFI and the full programme,
visit www.bfl.org.uk/klno.html

THE CRANES ARE FLYING

DIRECTOR: MIKHAIL KALATOZOV.

ON SCREEN: JUNE 26 AND 27

Set in WWII and its aftermath, this tale of love and separation won
the Palme d'Or in 1958. Only one other Soviet film, Friedrich Ermler's
The Turning Point, ever scored at Cannes.



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress