Fridrikh Ermler

Fridrikh Ermler – Oblomok imperii AKA Fragments of Empire (1929)

Synopsis:
Fridrikh Ermler’s last silent feature, Fragment of an Empire, tells the story of a Russian non-commissioned officer, Ivan Filimonov (Fyodor Nikitin), who was shell-shocked, thought to be dead in the First World War and in loss of memory. Filimonov regains his memory in 1928, ten years after the Russian Revolution. Determined to find his wife and get his job back, he goes home to Saint Petersburg only to find out that his wife has remarried and his former employer has been replaced by a factory committee. The Saint Petersburg that he used to know also does not exist anymore. Renamed Leningrad and deprived of its status as capital, the city with its monumental buildings and statues of Lenin is foreign to Filimonov as is everything else in this new world created by the 1917 Revolution. As time goes by, however, he learns to appreciate the new ways. Although he is not reunited with his wife, he regains full control of his life. At the end of the film, Filimonov breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly as he declares, in true Soviet propaganda fashion: “There is still much work to be done!” Read More »