T. It.: La Venditrice Di Sigarette Di Mosselprom; T. Fr.: La Vendeuse De Cigarettes Du Mosselprom; Scen.: Aleksei Fajkò, Fjodor Otsèp; F.: Juri Zeljabuzskij; Scgf.: Vladimir Bal- Ljuzek, Sergej Kozlovskij; Int.: Juliya Sòlnceva (Zina Vesenina), Igor Il’inskij (Nikodim Mityusin), Anna Dmochovskaja (Maria Ivanovna Rybcova), Nikolaj Cereteli (Latugin, Cameraman), Leonid Baratov (Barsov-Aragonsky, Regista), M. Cybulsky (Oliver Mac-Bright, Americano), G. Kravcenko, M. Rogozin, N. Visnjàk; Prod.: Mezrabpom-Rus’; 35mm. L.: 2302 M. D.: 102′ A 18 F/S. Bn.
Publicized on its release in 1924 as the first Soviet comedy, Papirosnitsa ot Mosselproma was one of the great successes of the season in the USSR, where it benefited from a large distribution. But the adventures of the young Zina, who discovers the backstage of the Seventh Art, falling in love with the cameraman Latugin, were more coldly received by the critics: in fact, the film was judged too frivolous and ideologicallly “inconsistent”. This comedy, shot on location in Moscow, is a remarkable testimony to a very original sector of Soviet production in the 1920s. It is, in fact, one of the first films produced by Mezhrabpom-Rus, a semi-private studio, which succeeded in reconciling autonomy, political obligations, and artistic innovation, and gave opportuni- ties to the best artists of the period. Papirosnitsa ot Mosselproma is emblematic of the central role which Mezhrabpom accorded to the actors. Iuri Jeliabujski, one of the founders of the studio, in fact very consciously chose for this comedy very well- known actors, mostly coming from the theatre, and of whom the principal was Igor Ilinski, who plays the role of the book-keeper Mitiouchine. Papirosnitsa ot Mosselproma is also a unique document on Moscow of the 1920s, before the great urban transformation of the Stalin period. Thanks to the support of the Fondation Groupama Gan pour le Cinéma, this film has been the object of a traditional photochemical restoration. With the rediscovery of this film, the Cinémathèque de Toulouse wishes to pay homage not only to a quite singular film, but also to the strong relationship which has linked it for so many years with Gosfilmofond of Moscow.
Natacha Laurent, Cinémathèque de Toulouse