Sog.: dal racconto La maestrina degli operai di Edmondo De Amicis. Scen.: Vladimir Majakovskij. F.: Evgenij Slavinskij. Int.: Vladimir Majakovskij (il teppista), Aleksandra Rebikova (la signorina), Fëdor Dunaev (il preside), Jan Nevinskij (uno scolaro). Prod.: Neptun 35mm. L: 1007 m. D.: 49′ a 18 f/s. Bn.
Revolutionary poet Vladimir Majakovskij was not too lucky in the practical aspects of the cinema. Half of his story outlines and scripts didn’t reach the screen, among them, Kak poživaete? (How Do You Do?, 1926), which was the most significant one for the author. Majakovskij is mainly known through his works from 1918 but they were considered failures by his contemporaries and himself. Only Baryšnja i chuligan survived (with the intertitles missing); of Majakovskij’s other movies, a screen adaptation of Jack London’s novel Martin Eden is lost and only a short fragment from Zakovannaja fil’moj (Shackled by Film) survives. All three films were made by the production company Neptun, where the poet Majakovskij was employed in 1918 as a screenwriter and actor. Because he was interested in cinema as the new art that crossed borders and produced meaning regardless of language, Majakovskij was eager to try his hand at everything. He painted and built sets, looked for stage props and thought about costumes, wanting to create films with artistic integrity. Baryšnja i chuligan was his second work for Neptun, that he directed with Evgenij Slavinskij, an experienced cinematographer of pre-revolutionary cinema. In the daydream scenes in which a young lady appears as a ghost, with letters that moved in front of her eyes and especially the triple images of the young lady appearing between trees, the traces of Majakovskij’s enthusiasm for futurism are well marked. Despite the film industry’s resistance, the avant-garde poet tried to expand the capabilities of the film medium. He had the idea that everything that could be imagined could be filmed. In the meantime, the most remarkable thing about this film was Majakovskij himself. In his role as the protagonist, his unstudied poses and gestures, his swinging manner of walking showed a different way an actor could behave in front of the camera and represented a new type of hero. His fixed gaze and the photogénie of his face in medium shots, almost untouched by make-up, generated powerful images. Unfortunately, Majakovskij’s acting passed unnoticed and after Zakovannaja fil’moj (Shackled by Film) he did not return to the screen as an actor.