Tag Archives: Georgiy Burkov

Andrey Smirnov & Larisa Shepitko – Nachalo nevedomogo veka AKA Beginning of an Unknown Era (1967)

During the most liberal period of the Khrushchev regime, Grigori Chukrai, director of the classic Ballad of a Soldier, presided over an “experimental studio” dedicated to nurturing new talents. The studio was closed after it produced the three-part Beginning of an Unknown Era, conceived as a memorial for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The film was shelved and to this day the negative is reported lost. However, a print of Andrei Smirnov’s episode Angel and Larissa Shepitko’s Homeland of Electricity survived – both films were premiered at the 1987 Moscow Film Festival. It is understandable that the authorities might have considered Angel and Homeland of Electricity inappropriate for trumped-up celebrations of the Revolution. Read More »

Nikolai Gubenko – Podranki aka The Orphans (1977)

The original Russian title Podranki can be translated as War Orphans. The protagonist is an adult writer who undergoes a flashback at the drop of a hat. He recalls how he was orphaned when his father was killed in World War II and his mother committed suicide. He remembers the appalling treatment afforded him by a sadistic orphanage official. And he muses over his losing contact with his brothers and sisters. This is why the grown-up writer is currently involved in lobbying for better treatment of Russian orphans. Orphans caused a minor stir in 1977 when it became the first Russian film in nearly two decades to be chosen for the Cannes Film Festival by the festival judges, rather than being submitted by the Soviets. The film did not see the light of a carbon arc in America until 1980. Read More »