Sunday, June 28, 2009

Protiv voli otsov / [Against the Will of the Fathers]

[Contro la volontà dei padri]. SU 1927. D+SC: Evgueni Ivanov-Barkov. DP: Alfonse Winkler, Alexeï Solodkov, Gavriil Eguiazarov; AD: Robert Falk, Dmitri Koloupaev; CAST: David Itkine (Kaufman), A. Dzioubina (Esther, sua figlia), Boris Verchilov (Rosenfeld), Arié Varchaver (Boris, suo figlio), V. Kojoura (Orlov, il Preside del Liceo), PC: Proletkino e Sovkino. 35mm. 1300 m. 52’ a 22 fps. B&w. From: Gosfilmofond. - Presentano Christopher Gautier e Valeri Bosenko, grand piano: Donald Sosin, earphone translation in Italian and English. Viewed at Cinema Lumiere 1, Bologna, 28 June 2009.

Ok print, a bit low contrast. - Ok English translation. - From the catalogue: The film was edited with unused rushes from the film Mabul (The Flood), an adaptation of a work by Sholem Aleichem and an initiative of the Jewish theatre Habima in Moscow. It was Yevgeni Ivanov-Barkov's first film, and the screenplay was so complex that while editing he had to cut many scenes and subplots, hence the idea for this second film. Set before the 1905 revolution, the film tells the story of two small-town Jewish families. The father of one family has chosen the path of assimilation, while the other decides to uphold tradition. Their sons leave to study in the city. One becomes a spy for the secret service and the other, a Zionist, takes up an internationalist position. They both are active in the political unrest of the times. When 1905 rolls around with its wave of pogroms, no one is spared. There are several elements that are similar to Mabul: the attempt on the governor's life, the execution of a revolutionary, the pogrom. While the first film's Passover scene was cut by censors, Against the Will of the Fathers added it. Unlike Mabul, which was released but not preserved, this film was banned and remained, though incomplete, in the archives. - Strong performances by the actors. Especially soulful is A. Dzioubina as Esther. - Impressive scenes: the terrorist attack, in the claws of the Okhrana, the flyers in the belly of the "pregnant" revolutionary, the Passover eve, the epic scene as the cossacks break up a rebellion. - The pogrom sequence is the most powerful I remember having seen in a film. Even the assimilated ones are persecuted.

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