Sog., Scen.: Diana Karenne. Int.: Diana Karenne (Ludmilla / Varvara). Prod.: A. Drankov, Taldykin. DCP. D.: 15’. Bn (from a first generation positive print).

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

In 1962, the Gosfil’mofond archive acquired an incomplete nitrate camera negative, with no intertitles, of an unidentified Russian pre-revolutionary film. The materials had always been stored under the title Tsyganka (The gypsy girl).
Despite some identification attempts, it was not possible to track down the original title of the film until 2022. After examining the film, I speculated that Diana Karenne, the star of Italian silent cinema, played the leading role. The film had been clearly shot in a Russian setting, but no known source even hinted at the fact that Karenne had a film career before her arrival to Italy.
In the pre-revolutionary Russian feature films catalogue, Veniamin Vishnevsky included the following entry: “The two sisters’ tragedy. Drama, 3 parts, 765 meters. A. Drankov and A Taldykin 4/III 1914. Scen. Dina Karen [Karenina]. Actors: D. Karen”. The proof eventually came from the pre-revolutionary Russian trade magazine “Cine-fono”, where a film advertisement (a full-page photo of the actress, clearly credited also as the scriptwriter), as well as a detailed synopsis (matching the materials surviving in the Gosfil’mofond collections) had been published.
In Tragediya dvukh sester Karenne is only 16 years old (if we trust her surviving personal documents), but already amazingly mature both on and off the screen.
The screened version has been reconstructed from a positive safety print struck in the 1970s (the nitrate camera negative does not survive), on the basis of the above-mentioned synopsis.

Tamara Shvediuk

Copy From

Reconstructed in 2022 by Tamara Shvediuk at the Gosfil’mofond archive