Thursday, September 19, 2013

Umirajushtshi lebed / The Dying Swan

Умирающий лебедь / Kuoleva joutsen / Den döende svanen. A Tragic Tale. RU 1917. PC: Akts. o-vo Hanzhonkov i K. D: Jevgeni Bauer. SC: Zoja Barantsevitsh. DP: Boris Zaveljev. C: Vera Karalli (Gizella, a mute ballerina), Aleksandr Heruvimov (father), Vitold Polonski (Viktor Krasovski), Andrei Gromov (Valeri Glinski, artist), Ivan Perestiani (Glinski's friend). A Gosfilmofond print /18 fps/ 49 min with e-subtitles by [Onni Nääppä?].

2. film in the Russian film concert - Mauri Saarikoski (violin) and Marko Puro (piano). Cinema Orion, Helsinki (History of Russian cinema), 19 Sep 2013.

The title and the inspiration of the film stem from Mikhail Fokin's choreography for Anna Pavlova to the Camille Saint-Saëns piece, one of the most famous dance numbers of Russian ballet. 

Vera Karalli plays the mute ballerina who is the perfect inspiration for the artist in search of an image of true death.

"There is something more powerful in your eyes". "When the soul sings words are not needed".

"All my life I have been seeking death. I found it in your dance."

"Life is worse than death".

When the storm was raging she entered like a ghost in the night. Like a nun, like in Vertigo. Extended hands like in Cocteau. It was all a dream.

But the woman's happiness disturbs the artist... he strangles her to immortalize her eternal beauty.

A haunting example of absolute decadence.

The musicians were fully in tune with the macabre subject. They amazed us by stopping to play at the culminating dance number - instead of Camille Saint-Saëns we had silence. Among the themes there was "Valse triste" by Jean Sibelius.

An ok print, slightly duped.

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