Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Vaarallinen raja / Граница / Frontiera; SU 1933-35. D+SC: Mikhaïl Dubson. DP: Vladimir Rapoport - 1,2:1; DP: Efim Khiguer, Isaac Makhlis; M: Leib Pulver; S: Lev Valter; CAST: Veniamine Zouskine (il commesso Arié), Boris Poslavski (Novik), Elena Granovskaïa (Fleïga, sua moglie), S. Peïssina (la loro figlia), Nikolaï Valiano (Boris), Vera Bakun (Ania, la sorella di Boris), Vassili Toporkov (il calzolaio Tuvim, loro padre), P. Arones (il rabbino), T. Khazak (il cantore), Piotr Kirillov (Bart, il capo del contro-spionaggio), Nikolaï Tcherkassov (Gaïdul), Gueorgui Orlov (l’artigiano Moïsseï), Leonid Kmit (Vassia), Efim Althus, Sergueï Guerassimov, Emile Gal (gli artigiani); PC: Lenfilm; 35mm. 2600 m. 94’. B&w. Russian version. From: Gosfilmofond. - Presentano Natacha Laurent e Valérie Pozner, viewed at Cinema Lumière 2, Bologna, 1 July 2009. - Judging by the beginning, a good print, beautiful definition of light, a sepia tone, song in Hebrew in the synagogue scene. - The account of the religious service is parodic. - I saw but the beginning of this film. - From the catalogue: Mikhail Dubson was born in 1899 in Smolensk and lived in Germany, where he started career as a film director. Frontier was his first Soviet film. His original screenplay The Black Crowning wove two narratives together: one about a smallpox epidemic in a shtetl in Polish territory a few miles away from the Soviet border, which the rabbi wants to cure via an ancient ritual, the black crowning; the other one follows the trials and tribulations of a Jewish revolutionary arrested by the police while trying to cross the border. The main character, Ari, is an assistant of a factory owner, and his experience with the illegal immigrant slowly converts him to the cause of the revolution. The film was made in 1933 and banned, but Dubson was allowed to revise it. He cut mostly the first narrative, added poor worker characters in the shtetl, emphasized the political awakening of the main character and gave the film a more optimistic tone; with these changes the film was finally released, two years after the first version's completion.

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