1921-1930DramaIvan PravovOlga PreobrazhenskayaSilentSoviet silent cinemaUSSR

Ivan Pravov & Olga Preobrazhenskaya – Kashtanka (1926)

Mariann Lewinsky (Il Cinema Ritrovato 2020): “Kashtanka by Olga Preobrazhenskaya, print 1995, a film of winter, of night and snow, of children and animals, a film about loss, a masterpiece”, read my viewing notes from 2012. My Prague colleagues had it screened for me because they knew I was interested in colour in silent cinema, and they knew a tinted Soviet silent film to be a rare item. I had never heard the name of the director. My encounter with her work was enhanced by the shock of discovering that a major director who had reached international audiences with Baby ryazanskie and Tikhiy Don (The Quiet Don) around 1930 could disappear without a trace from official film history. In 2013, Il Cinema Ritrovato dedicated a retrospective to her.” Mariann Lewinsky (Il Cinema Ritrovato 2020)

Natalya Nusinova (Il Cinema Ritrovato 2020): “In the original story by Chekhov, Kashtanka is a little dog that gets lost following the trail of his drunken owner. In the film he is stolen, sold, tossed out into the street and saved by a clown. The boy Fedyushka gets lost looking for the dog and ends up a prisoner of the sinister Mazamet who compels him to rove from house to house to make money, while Fedyushka’s father wanders through the streets in search of his lost child. The film was approved by the censors in 1926 and received the authorisation for international distribution the following year. Before the Czech print was discovered in 2012, Kashtanka had been considered lost in Russia, following the decision by the Central Committee of film censorship to ban the film in 1932 (“the underclass is portrayed as evil, lacking in class consciousness and social awareness”).” Natalya Nusinova (Il Cinema Ritrovato 2020)

AA: In Anton Chekhov’s oeuvre, Kashtanka was published during an extremely important and productive year, 1887, just before his great turning-point, the long story The Steppe. Olga Preobrazhenskaya’s Kashtanka was the first of six film adaptations of Chekhov’s beloved story.

For several generations the film was missing, believed lost. Then a Czech print was preserved from apparently the sole surviving source, battered, in low definition and low contrast and with a lot of “rain”, but still conveying an idea of the original film.

Anton Chekhov’s story has been completely changed, but a core idea remains: the ordeals of a little dog in the hands of several owners. In the movie the dog’s tale is mirrored by a parallel adventure of the little boy Fedyushka who loves it more than anything else.

Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	1 h 13 min
Size: 	2.38 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	1920x1080 
Aspect ratio:  	16:9
Frame rate: 	25.000 fps
Bit rate: 	4 800 kb/s / 4 800 kb/s
BPP: 	0.093


Language(s):Czech intertitles

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