Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Robinson Crusoe 3D (SU 1947)

Робинзон Крузо. SU 1947. PC: Stereokino, Tbilisskaja Kinostudija. P: Viktor Tsirgiladze, S. Tomski. D: Aleksandr Andrijevski. SC: Aleksandr Andrijevski, Fjodor Knorre, Sergei Jermolinski – based on the novel (1719) by Daniel Dafoe. DP: Dmitri Surenski. AD: G. Turiljev. Cost: L. Baikova. Make-up: Z. Vahtangishvili. M: Lev Shvarts. There is a song in the end of the movie. S: Davit Lomidze, Aleksandr Zapadenski. C: Pavel Kadotshnikov (Robinson Crusoe), Juri Ljubimov (Friday), Aleksandr Smiranin (Robinson's father). 85 min. Duration of the screening: 75 min (the Agfacolor opening and closing sequences have been lost). 2K DCP from Münchner Filmmuseum. Original in Russian (dialogue and intertitles) without translation. Viewed (XpanD) at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (3D), 3 April 2012.

The first 3D feature film, its original lenticular Stereokino solution reconstructed successfully as a 2K DCP by Münchner Filmmuseum. No problems with the effects and brightness in the screening, resulting in a very nice 3D experience.

Robinson Crusoe is saved from his desert island and he recounts his story as flashbacks. Effective 3D moments include: a rope extended to a drowning sailor, a feline approaching us on a branch, Robinson climbing up the rope to the wreck, the tree full of parrots, a giant spider in the middle of its web, the thunderstorm that washes Robinson's first hut down, the steam from the tea kettle, and spears flying towards Robinson (the audience laughed at the primitive thrill).

A solid, straighforward interpretation of the classic story, suitable for children. The most interesting part is when Robinson rescues Friday, and "A new life starts". Step by step Robinson teaches Friday things like honing a knife, operating the bellows, fishing with a dragnet, lighting a fire with a magnifying glass, hunting with firearms, and most importantly, to speak (Russian in this version). In the closing image, back home, Robinson has started to write his memoirs.

As far as I know no film adaptation of the story has become an immortal masterpiece. This one is solid entertainment, and because there was no translation, I cannot say whether it was less profound than Luis Buñuel's, but I think that maybe surprisingly enough for a Soviet movie the insight was missing that a human being is a social animal to the extent that madness and mental regression will result in solitude. Neither were included any reflections familiar from the classics of political economy. But a deeply felt conviction in this version of the story is that Robinson treats Friday as a brother, not as a servant or as a slave.

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