Седьмой спутник (The Seventh Companion) 1967 Ages 15+

11.00AM Sat 20 Mar 2021 (1hr 29mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

'In short, we wanted to say in the film [The Seventh Companion] that the beginning of many processes of our life – such as breaking the law, and other things, and many other serious problems – began long, long ago. They all started in 1919. Then we had the Red Terror. And the main conclusion is that the absence of moral principles cannot be the foundation of anything.' - Aleksei German

Please note: due to unforeseen circumstances, this screening will be of a digital copy of the film, rather than the previously advertised 35mm print. We apologise for any disappointment.

The Seventh Companion takes place amidst the violence and political turbulence of the Bolshevik-led ‘Red Terror’ campaign during the Russian Civil War. General Adamov (Andrei Popov), a former professor and military lawyer for the disbanded Tsarist army, is arrested by the secret police and faces execution because of his political allegiances. Before he can be shot, he is unexpectedly released for past honourable actions – however he soon finds that the life he had before the Revolution no longer exists.

After initially pursuing a career in theatre, German would come to study filmmaking under the renowned Soviet director Grigori Kozintsev. He worked as a production assistant and assistant director for Lenfilm Studios before being offered the chance to co-direct The Seventh Companion alongside veteran filmmaker Grigori Aronov.

In the decades after its release, German would speak dismissively of the film and its place in his oeuvre. He decried the experience of working alongside Aronov, with whom he clashed about the artistic and political direction of the film, and confessed that he had often allowed the more senior filmmaker to overrule him for the sake of the production.

Despite his later lamentations, the film remains a thoughtful and rich debut. There are early signs of the striking aesthetics for which German would eventually be celebrated and he adroitly renders a complex portrait of an individual cast adrift by the vagaries of history – a leitmotif that would only grow more pronounced throughout his working life. The production experience hardened German’s resolve to not compromise in the pursuit of his art and shaped his approach to the five solo features he would direct over the following decades.

CREDITS

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 89 MINUTES, USSR, RUSSIAN (LIVE ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTORS: ALEKSEI GERMAN, GRIGORIY ARONOV / SCRIPT: EDGAR DUBROVSKY, YURI KLEPIKOV / BASED ON THE NOVEL BY BORIS LAVRENYEV / CINEMATOGRAPHER: EDUARD ROZOVSKY / EDITOR: RAISA IZAKSON / PROD CO: LENFILM STUDIO / RIGHTS: SEAGULL FILMS