Мой друг Иван Лапшин (My Friend Ivan Lapshin) 1985 PG

8.00PM Wed 17 Mar 2021 (1hr 35mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

'But on the whole we simply wanted to show the times. And we wanted to avoid this vulgar way of stating everything so clearly. Such a vulgarity would be a discussion in the film about Stalin, or even a way of behaviour. We wanted to avoid all these clichés, and we wanted instead to dive deep int the lives of the people.' - Aleksei German

My Friend Ivan Lapshin will screen from an archival 35mm print.

Once voted the greatest Soviet film ever made by a poll of national critics – and similarly declared as such by no less a figure than Andrei Tarkosky – My Friend Ivan Lapshin is one of the key triumphs of Aleksei German’s career.

A loose adaptation of different stories written by his author father Yuri German, the film is set in a small regional town in 1935. The story is framed as the later recollections of a child character in the film, the son of a friend of the eponymous Ivan Lapshin (Andrei Boltnev). Lapshin himself is a local detective, currently investigating the sinister activities of a local gang. This narrative thread intertwines with Lapshin’s burgeoning affection for Natasha (Nina Ruslanova), an actress in a visiting amateur theatre troupe, and the return of Lapshin’s friend Khanin (Andrei Mironov), who is hopelessly distraught after the recent death of his wife.

With My Friend Ivan Lapshin, German deliberately attempted to dispel the Soviet mythos around the mid-1930s, a period treated with reverent nostalgia in the USSR. He instead wanted to show a place where the seeds of impending catastrophe had been planted and would soon bear the fruits of purges, famine and repression.

Beyond the historical and political intrigue, the film is a technical marvel. German’s camera slithers through crowded communal apartments and down the town’s streets, with every set and costume painstakingly researched and fashioned over years by the filmmakers. The authenticity of this design blended with its elusive atmosphere gives My Friend Ivan Lapshin the feeling of a memory, of a time and place remembered but in a haze – of seeing history through a keyhole.

CREDITS

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOUR, MONO, 95 MINUTES, RUSSIA, RUSSIAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: ALEKSEI GERMAN / SCRIPT: EDUARD VOLODARSKY / BASED ON WRITINGS BY YURI GERMAN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: VALERI FEDOSOV / EDITOR: LEDA SEMYONOVA / PROD CO: LENFILM STUDIO, PERVOE TVORCHESKOE OBEDINENIE / PRINT SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR THE MOVING IMAGE, MELBOURNE / RIGHTS: SEAGULL FILMS / SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM