Начало неведомого века (Beginning of an Unknown Era) 1967 Ages 15+

6.00PM Wed 13 Jul 2022 (1hr 13mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

Beginning of an Unknown Era will screen from an imported 35mm print.

Developed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution, this omnibus film originally contained three segments from three different filmmakers: Larisa Shepitko, Andrei Smirnov, and Genrikh Gabay. Shepitko and Smirnov’s chapters were immediately shelved by state censors for their negative depiction of Bolshevism, while Gabay’s was approved for release. In an ironic twist, the state-endorsed chapter has since been lost forever, while the two banned sections were unearthed during the cultural reform of perestroika (in part due to Shepitko’s husband Elem Klimov’s work as First Secretary of the Soviet Filmmakers’ Union in this period) and are now presented together as Beginning of an Unknown Era.

Shepitko’s chapter ‘The Homeland of Electricity’ is a powerful adaptation of a short story by Andrei Platonov. Set in a rural village in 1921, it illustrates the fraught attempt to bring electricity to this remote and impoverished community in the Volga region. Shepitko brings a stark yet dreamy atmosphere to the film, demonstrating both the physical and spiritual struggles of the villagers’ lives. Smirnov’s ‘Angel’ follows a group of refugees fleeing the violence of the Russian Civil War, wherein a train derailment puts them in the clutches of a cruel White Russian known as the ‘Angel of God’. Both works are unsparing visions of a Russia beset by hunger and destitution, making it clear why state censors at the time deemed them unsuitable for public consumption.

CREDITS

35MM, MONO, BLACK AND WHITE, 73 MINUTES, USSR, RUSSIAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTORS: LARISA SHEPITKO, ANDREI SMIRNOV / SCRIPT: MIKHAIL SUSLOV, LARISA SHEPITKO, BORIS YERMOLAYEV, ILYA SUSLOV / BASED ON SHORT STORIES BY ANDREI PLATNOV AND YURI OLESHA / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: PAVEL LEBESHEV, DMITRI KORZHIKHIN / EDITOR: LYUDMILA BADORINA / PROD CO: MOSFILM / PRINT SOURCE: BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE, LONDON / RIGHTS: SEAGULL FILMS / SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM