Oleg Kovalov

  • Oleg Kovalov – Sady skorpiona AKA Gardens of the Scorpion (1992)

    1991-2000DocumentaryExperimentalOleg KovalovRussia

    For his directing début, Oleg Kovalov chose a very extravagant experiment. As a basis he took a propaganda film from the fifties, The Case of Corporal Kochetkov, dissected this as it were and gave the naked structure a new substance and new accents by re-cutting the shots and adding documentary material from the fifties, such as newsreel footage of Khrushchev’s visit to America and pictures of the visit by Yves Montand and Simone Signoret to Moscow. The film about corporal Kochetkov called on the Soviet citizens to be on their guard and showed how sly the enemy was: for instance it could pose as an innocent girl. Kovalov creams off the emotional froth from this melodrama, deconstructs its codes and subjects it to a thoughtful analysis. For instance he reveals paranoia and spy-phobia, complexes in the ‘collective Soviet unconscious’ that is still active even in relatively enlightened periods.Read More »

  • Oleg Kovalov – Sergei Eisenstein. Avtobiografiya AKA Sergei Eisenstein: Autobiography (1996)

    1991-2000ArthouseDocumentaryOleg KovalovRussiaSergei M. Eisenstein


    The great Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein, whose Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible stand as masterpieces of world cinema, is the subject of this eccentric and puzzling production. Though based on memoirs Eisenstein wrote before his death in 1948, most of this film is barely a documentary at all, but rather a composite of images, many of which are fascinating and arresting. Eisenstein himself was known for startling and memorable images (perhaps the most famous of which is the shot of the baby carriage rolling down the steps in Potemkin), so memorializing him with clips from his own films interspersed with readings from his memoirs seems somewhat appropriate. But the voice-over in Russian (with English subtitles) is quite sparse, and at times the images onscreen, which include clips from Buster Keaton films and Hollywood musicals from the 1930s, are utterly mystifying.. –Robert J. McNamaraRead More »

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