Sunday, April 06, 2014

Early Russian 3D Films: Concert (1940), Crystals (1948), Karandash on Ice (1948), Park Alleys (1952) (digital 2K 3D restoration by Gosfilmofond 2011-2012)

The premiere in 1941 at Cinema Moskva of the first Russian 3D film Concert. - Премьера фильма «Концерт» в кинотеатре «Москва», 1941 г. Фото: пресс-служба фестиваля «Арткино»
Early Russian 3D Films. Restored digitally at Gosfilmofond 2011-2012 (Nikolai Majorov / Nikolai Mayorov and Vladimir Kotovski / Vladimir Kotovsky). Filmmuseum München 2K DCP screened at XpandD, electronic subtitles by Elli Salo (projected under the image), introduced by Stefan Drössler, Cinema Orion, Helsinki (3D), 6 April 2014
    Stefan Drössler: All three Soviet 3D systems of the 1940s and the 1950s are on display in this screening.

The first title frame of the screening: Товарищи зрители - Comrades viewers - put your special glasses on!

Kontsert / Konцert - Парад молодости/ [Konsertti] / Zemlja molodosti / Consert / Konzert – Das Land der Jugend / Land of the Youth. SU 1940. Premiere: 1941. PC: Sojuzdetfilm. D+SC: Aleksandr Andrijevski / Alexander Andriyevsky. DP: Dmitri Surenski / Dmitry Surensky – Kodak (b&w) / Agfa (colour) - paired horizontal stereo image - 11 x 16 mm - aspect ratio 0.69:1. Featuring: Vladimir Jahontov / Vladimir Yakhontov, Vera Dulova, Jakov Flier / Yakov Flier, Galina Nemtshenko / Galina Nemchenko, Vitali Spevak. The original: 7 reels, 1975 m. Reconstructed at Gosfilmofond (2011) for 2K DCP 3D, 40 min
    The first publicly screened Soviet 3D film consists of seven episodes. It was shot at Sojuzdetfilm and premiered at Cinema Moskva on 4 February, 1941. The grid screen was 3,1 x 5 meters. (The first experimental Russian 3D screening took place in 1911 at Cinema Tangara in St. Petersburg. Little is known about it.)
    SD: All the performers were favourites of Stalin. The original soundtrack is missing. The film has been reconstructed by using recordings of the same artists, but it is out of synch.
    1. At the seaside, Vladimir Yakhontov recites Vladimir Mayakovski's poem "Good!" / "Хорошо! Октябрьская поэма" (1927). Elli Salo had the insight to apply here an old Finnish Stalin-era translation by Armas Äikiä.
    2. In a fantastic hall, Vera Dulova plays P. I. Tchaikovsky's "Sentimental Waltz" on the harp. There are transparent balloons flying toward us. Depth effects are also achieved via flowers thrown at the finale.
    3. At the grand piano, Yakov Flier plays "Un sospiro. Étude No. 3 in D-flat major" by Franz Liszt. We film lovers remember it as the haunting theme of Max Ophuls's Letter from an Unknown Woman.
    4. In the garden, the soprano Galina Nemchenko sings the waltz "Frühlingsstimmen" by Johann Strauss, Jr.
    5. At the stage, the virtuoso juggler Vitaly Spevak performs. The show is astounding, and the depth effects are striking, also in high angle shots.
    6. The image bursts into two-colour in the garden with pheasants, little birds flying from us and towards us, parrots, and storks. Music: the waltz from Ivan Glinka's opera A Life for the Czar.
    7. The carnival of the youth, with grotesque masks and a globe with the letters USSR prominent.
    AA: The high, starkly vertical frame, makes possible an original and striking composition. There are several shots of high aesthetic quality. An essential entry in the cinema's 3D story.

After the war, Stereokino (1947) had a lenticular screen of 3,2 x 3,1 meters. The first programme was Robinson Crusoe, from February 1947 till December 1948. In the next programme, Kristally and Karandash na ldu were shown together, and the premiere was on 25 December, 1948.

Kristally / Кристаллы. Hаучно популярный фильм; / Crystals / [Kristalleja]. SU 1948. PC: Mosnauchfilm. D: Jakov Kaplunov / Yakov Kaplunov. DP: A. Astafjev – Agfacolor (2. and 3. reels) / Kodak (b&w reels 1 and 4) - paired horizontal stereo image - 10,3 x 10 mm. AN: Dmitri Babitshenko / Dmitri Babitchenko, Jelena Hludova / Yelena Khludova. M: V. Oranski / V. Oranskij. Narrator: L. Hmara / L. Khmara. The original: 4 reels, 569 m / 20:04 min. Reconstructed (Gosfilmofond 2012) for 2K DCP 3D, 20 min
    SD: Maybe the first film with 3D cartoon scenes.
    An educational film about crystals and their formation. In animated scenes the explorer is seen in miniature studying atom structure. The premiere was on 25 December, 1948, in Moscow's new Cinema Stereokino with a new 3.1 x 3.2 meter lenticular screen.
    AA: An excellent popular scientific film in which the 3D does make sense. It is an exploration into atom structure, the structure of matter (ice / water, ametyst, bismuth, lead, copper, gold, sugar, silk, wool, corals, clams, meteors). The animation is very well done.

Karandash na ldu / Карандаш на льду / [Karandash jäällä] / Karandash on Ice. SU 1948. PC: Stereokino. D: V. Nemoljajev / V. Nemolyaev. SC: V. Ladynina. DP: S. Rubashkin / S. Rubachkin– Agfa / Kodak 35 mm - paired horizontal stereo image - 10.3 x 10 mm - aspect ratio 1:1. AD: A. Shelaputina. M: S. Katz. S: S. Senkevich - mono. C: Mihail Rumjantsev / Mikhail Rumyantsev (Karandash), L. Tselikovskaja / L. Tselikovskaya (Natasha). The original: 3 reels, 630 m / 23 min. Reconstructed (Gosfilmofond 2012) for 2K DCP 3D, 23 min
    The famous clown Karandash in an ice bandy match. Karandash is a reserve goalkeeper in the female ice bandy team in which his girlfriend is playing. Karandash was the favourite Moscow comedian of Ivor Montagu.
    AA: Farce in the snow and on ice, a musical comedy approach, military orchestra, waltzes again, now on ice, Karandash fooling around among figure skaters and in the mixed ice bandy match (Meteor vs. The Seagull). The comedy is rather mediocre. - NB. The word for "carandache" / Caran d'Ache is originally Russian. - Karandash started as a Chaplin imitator, and one can still feel the Chaplin connection, but here Karandash is unfortunately quite far from his great model.

V allejah parka / В аллеях парка / In the Avenues of the Park / Park Alleys / [Gorkin puisto]. SU 1952. PC: NIKFI. D: Andrei G. Boltianski / Andrei G. Boltiansky. DP: Andrei G. Boltianski, D. Surenski – Agfacolor, Stereo 35 over/under - aspect ratio: 1.37:1. S: A. Zapalenski / A. Zapalensky - mono. The original: 1 reel, 329,2 m / 12 min. Reconstructed for 2K DCP 3D, 7 min
    SD: This was the first film in the 1950 Soviet 3D system. It was a test film but it was so much liked that it was properly released.
    A beautiful colour film of the Gorky Park in Moscow, with an emphasis on the brilliant colours of flowers. The people of the city relax in the park strolling, rowing, and playing in the funfair. The impression of depth is refined, and in a scene a young woman reaches out and presents a flower for us.
    AA: An idyll shot during Stalin's last year.

Summa summarum: Concert and Crystals are excellent and essential entries in the cinema's 3D story.

No comments: