Lev Kulidžanov, Jakov Segel’

Scen.: Iosif Ol’šanskij. F.: Vjačeslav Šumskij. Scgf.: Vladimir Bogomolov. Mus.: Jurij Birjukov. Int.: Valentina Telegina (Davydova, la madre), Nikolaj Elizarov (Davydov, il padre), Evgenij Matveev (Konstantin, il figlio maggiore), Vladimir Zemljanikin (Serëža, il figlio minore), Jura Mjasnikov (Serëža da piccolo), Rimma Šorochova (Katja Davydova), Pavel Šal’nov (Nikolaj, suo marito), Michail Ul’janov (Dmitrij Kaširin), Ninel’ Myškova (Lida, sua moglie), Klavdija Elanskaja (attrice). Prod.: M. Gor’kij film studio. 35mm. D.: 100’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Lev Kulidžanov is one of the major forgotten figures of the Thaw – an auteur whose measured, Neorealism-influenced style was deemed exemplary, a model to emulate by many a VGIK student of the 50s. In the end, it’s the grand stylists and modernist realists who made it into history, while Kulidžanov’s modesty was obviously considered too ordinary, common to remember. Add to that the way his career developed: during Brežnev’s ice age, Kulidžanov (nicknamed: ‘Spjaščij Lev’, ‘Sleeping Lion’) became a figurehead of the establishment who held several major posts of power; ever the realist, he rarely rose against the Upper Echelon in defence of colleagues in trouble when the case looked lost anyway – for which he wasn’t forgiven; while all the seemingly small day-to-day good he did got casually forgotten. As a trajectory, Kulidžanov’s career resembles that of several other 50s luminaries who constitute something like the Thaw’s conservative wing, eg. Vladimir Basov or Stanislav Rostockij (cf. Zemlja i ljudi, Land and People, 1955, screened in last year’s program). Dom, v kotorom ja živu can be seen as a parallel movie to Michail Kalatozov’s Letjat žuravli (The Cranes Are Flying, 1957): a drama spanning the period from 1935 via the Great Patriotic War to its aftermath, the moment of regeneration. Main difference: Kulidžanov e Segel’ tell the story of a collective: the inhabitants of a typical, multi-storey house in Moscow, with the Davydov family at its centre; while Kalatozov focuses on one couple and their immediate surroundings, therein a melodrama of love and faith, rape and damnation. Also, Kulidžanov e Segel’ keep it simple and real, refusing all directorial pyrotechnics – which makes the moment when the fires of war appear like Armageddon impending at the horizon look even more shocking.

Olaf Möller

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