Mark Donskoy, the Russian filmmaker whose fame rests upon his brilliant “Gorky Trilogy” of the late 1930s, came up with another artistic triumph in 1944’s Rainbow (originally Raduga). With understandable creative rage, Donskoy depicts life in a Nazi-occupied village at the beginning of World War 2. The German conquerors are above nothing, not even the slaughter of small children, to break the spirit of their Soviet captives. Suffering more than most is Olga (Nataliya Uzhviy), a Russian partisan who returns to the village to bear her child, only to endure the cruellest of arbitrary tortures at the hands of the Nazis. Eventually, the villagers rise up against their oppressors-but unexpectedly do not wipe them out, electing instead to force the surviving Nazis to stand trial for their atrocities in a post-war “people’s court.” (It is also implied that those who collaborated with the Germans will be dealt with in the same even-handed fashion). Brilliantly acted by virtually everyone in the cast, Rainbow is a remarkable achievement, one that deserves to be better known outside of Russia. Read More »
Tag Archives: Nina Alisova
From allmovie: Filmed in 1937 (in fact: 1936), the Russian film “Without Dowry” was released in America in 1946, one year after the death of its director, Yakov Protazanov. Produced on a far-less epic scale than most Protazanov films, this is a merciless satire of the Russian dowry system in particular and the Czarist regime in general. The heroine (Nina Alisova) is promised in marriage to a bureaucrat (Victor Balikhin), who is interested only in receiving the girl’s dowry. Maintaining a gently comic tone throughout most of the proceedings, the story dovetails almost imperceptibly into tragedy. The musical score is based upon Tchaikovsky’s 5th, with a few Russian folk songs woven in.
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