Sergej Jutkevič

Int. t.: The New Adventures of Schweick. Scen.: Nikolaj Rožkov, Evgenij Pomeščikov. M.: Mark Magidson. Mus.: Anatolij Lepin. Int.: Sergej Martinson, Nina Nikitina, Faina Ranevskaya, Pavel Špringfeld, Boris Tenin. Prod.: Sojuzdetfilm, Stalinabad Studio. 35mm. D.: 69’. 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

Few films have been made under more incredible production circumstances: in extreme heat, with bad war news coming from all directions – and then emerges the most lively and dazzling Soviet comedy since the 1920s, a triumphant return to ‘excentrism’ of FEKS (where Sergei Jutkevič was the third founder member along with his friends Grigorij Kozincev and Leonid Trauberg) in the middle of the cruelest war – as if to confirm the famous observation of Vasilij Grossman, that the war period was the strange haven of liberties none of which was experienced in the 1930s. It’s all in the crossroads, and as such like a definition of comedy – done with sweep impossible to imagine in any other circumstances; with every second relating to the great drama of life and death – real, palpable, and shocking. Both Švejk and Hitler are original creations, the former by dynamiting the ‘the good soldier’ of Hasek – Svejk is a person who wins by jokes, ironies and imatination – the latter, an idiot Hitler, by deepening the genre developed already by Kozincev in a short that depicted the imaginary telephone conversation between Hitler and Napoleon. Hitler’s ways end in a delicious image where the hairy beast is put into a cage, a poor paranoic without “race or name”. He’s a a strange dream of Josef Švejk, a Hitler fantasy (with the Führer listening to the song of Švejk...) – and yet this is a very tough film behind its joyous surface. The performance of Boris Tenin (another great performance: the aunt is played by an actress named by Brecht as “the greatest in Moscow”) reminds of Langdon or Keaton at the height of their art; it is also a lyrical and poetic film, catching the epic of the landscape and the breath of lakes and mountains. And one more, obvious originality: how the dialectics of heroism and anti-heroism is developed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Peter von Bagh

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