Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 16:00


Jakov Protazanov
Piano accompaniment by

Donald Sosin


Monday 26/06/2017


Original version with simultaneous translation through headphones


Film Notes

Ne nado krovi! is one of the five or six films Protazanov directed between February and October 1917. The story was directly inspired by real events. Through a long flashback it illustrates the contents of a secret police dossier which was spared the anger of the mob that invaded the police headquarters: a young, high society woman rebels against her class and chooses a course of violent, clandestine activism. Director and screenwriter, Protazanov depicts social inequality, militancy, police infiltration, judicial repression and the questions faced by the victorious revolutionaries: which scores need settling and with whom? What to do with the archives of a past that they want to deny? How to refute violence? The love story is relegated to a secondary position (possibly lost along with the two middle reels), but Protazanov never was a sentimentalist. He explains in detail police procedures, the humiliation of the detainee and the confusion of the days immediately following liberation without taking a position – just as Evgenij Bauėr did in the same period with  Revoljucioner, a film in support of carrying on a patriotic war.
As is often the case, Protazanov obtained distribution thanks to the Art Theatre in Moscow. The film is one of the few surviving titles to feature one of Stanislavskij’s favoured actresses, Ol’ga Gzovskaja, who is here teamed with her husband, Vladimir Gajdarov.

Bernard Eisenschitz

Cast and Credits

T. copia: Genug des Blutes. T. fr.: Assez de sang. Scen.: Jakov Protazanov. Int.: Ol’ga Gzovskaja (Ol’ga Pernovskaja), Vladimir Gajdarov (Glagolin), Polikarp Pavlov (il provocatore), Nikolaj Panov (colonello Pernovksij), N. Aleksandrov (il barone). Prod.: Iosif Ermol’ev 35mm. L.: 1221 m (incompleto). D.: 56’ a 19 f/s.  B&W and tinted.


Film Notes

Kulisy ėkrana is one of those intriguing fragments which suggest a masterpiece and which make one wonder, if the remaining part should be found or not.
We know very little about the film, there are practically no reviews, not a single memoir on the making of this picture. In fact, we do not really know who directed it. The few relatively reliable sources suggest two names – both rather insignificant in Russian pre-revolutionary cinema, and both prominent in the ‘Russian exile’ film history. Georgij Azagarov, who made a career in Germany, is most notable for his last silent film, the now lost prison drama Revolte im Erziehungshaus (Revolt in the Reformatory, 1930). Aleksandr Volkov became one of the leading directors in France, producing such notable extravaganzas as La Maison du mystère (1921), Kean (1924) and Casanova (1927), all three starring Ivan Mozžuchin. Both Azagarov and Volkov were nurtured by Jakov Protazanov, as his actors and assistant directors. And it is indeed Protazanov’s hand one can feel in Kulisy ėkrana: his interest in human psychology, his regard for details, his bitter irony.
Ivan Mozžuchin plays… Ivan Mozžuchin, a renown film star, who’s career comes to an end when he loses his arm in an accident. He is offered a new job as a director, but by this time his wife starts an affair with the head of the studio. The humiliated husband abandons his career and takes to the road. By the time his guilt-driven wife finds him, he is desperate and has spiraled downward, and in the end he commits suicide.
A tangled plot with a tragic ending was characteristic of early Russian cinema. So it may very well be that the complete film was rather conventional. But the only existing reel suggests something entirely different. In this reel Mozžuchin returns to the studio – only to find his dressing-room occupied by a new star. He enters the room and browses through his old photographs. There are no sharp camera angles, no dramatic clashes in this fragment. The narrative is built mostly on close-ups of faces and objects. And Mozžuchin’s acting was never as subtle as here.
There is a remarkable feeling of authenticity. The photographs Mozžuchin is looking at so intently are indeed the stills from his most famous films, Pikovaja Dama (The Queen of Spades, 1916) and Satana likujuščij (Satan Triumphant, 1917). His wife is played by Natal’ja Lisenko, Mozžuchin’s wife in real life, and her character is, naturally, called Natal’ja Lisenko. By 1917 Mozžuchin was no doubt the most popular Russian film star. And he didn’t have the habit of being abandoned by women, it was usually the other way around.
So was this pseudo-autobiographical film a masochistic way of expressing all the issues and uncertainties of the most unstable year in Russian history?

Peter Bagrov

Cast and Credits

. Scen.: Georgij Azagarov, Aleksandr Volkov. F.: Nikolaj Toporkov. Int.: Ivan Mozžuchin (Mozžuchin, attore cinematografico), Natal’ja Lisenko (Lisenko, attrice), Nikolaj Panov (capo degli studios), Lirskij (Lirskii, attore cinematografico), Iona Talanov, Andrej Brej. Prod.: Iosif Ermol’ev  35mm. L.: 235 m (frammento). D.: 11’ a 18 f/s. Bn