Thursday, December 16, 2010

Odna / Alone

Одна / Yksin / Ensam. SU 1931. PC: Sojuzkino (Leningrad). D+SC: Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg. DP: Andrei Moskvin. M: Dmitri Shostakovitsh (Opus 26). S: Lev Arnstam. AD: Jevgeni Enei. CAST: Jelena Kuzmina (Jelena, teacher), Pjotr Sobolevski (Pjotr, Jelena's fiancé), Sergei Gerasimov (chairman of the village council), Marija Babanova, Van Ljui-Sjan (Bey), Janina Zheimo (young woman), Boris Tsirkov. Original duration 91 min, KAVA: parts 1–7 ja 9, music version, 80 min, e-subtitles in Finnish by Onni Nääppä. Viewed at Cinema Orion (Carte blanche à Kanerva Cederström), Helsinki, 16 Dec 2010.

Viewed for the first time an early interpretation of the Soviet cinema's favoured "first teacher" theme. The young Leningrad teacher is commanded to the Altai mountains, to milieux also familiar from the films of Vasili Shukshin. The movie begins in an atmosphere of social idealism, but as soon as we get to Altai it gets more interesting. It is Communist propaganda but not of the worst kind. The film has playful, farcical, and eccentric aspects as well as serious, propagandist and tragic ones. The loudspeaker in the square of Leningrad has an ambivalent function, with Orwellian overtones. The ancient customs of the Altai (the shamans, the sheep farming, the labour tools) are in contrast with the modern ways imported from Leningrad. Jelena Kuzmina's performance as the teacher is moving in this Bildungsroman role (the teacher is taught as well as the children). In our print the 8. reel is missing with the teacher being frozen in the tundra. In the final reel an airplane comes to take the fatally injured teacher to a hospital in the city. - In the beginning the Kozintsev-Trauberg-Shostakovich touch is unrecognizable. But after 20 minutes or so also Shostakovich's music gets interesting, often very exciting, original, and different. It is playful and modernist, bringing new dimensions to the story. - Our print has a duped quality, and the 8. reel is missing although not lost from other existing prints.

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