Detroit Film Theatre
TWILIGHT OF THE TSARS: IAKOV PROTAZANOV
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Iakov Protazanov was considered a run-of-the-mill filmmaker when suddenly, in 1912, his film about Leo Tolstoy, The Departure of a Great Old Man, burst upon the cinema scene like lightning. Mixing a dramatized account of the great writer’s life with documentary footage of real locations, the film managed to portray Tolstoy’s widow in such an unflattering light took action to have it legally banned. Ivan Mozzhukhin stars as the callous young officer in Protazanov’s definitive version of Pushkin’s The Queen of Spades (1916). In attempting to “reveal the characters’ psychological essence by visual means,” the director stunned audiences with innovative visual devices and expressive cinematographic design.
TWILIGHT OF THE TSARS: Russian Cinema from 1910 – 1919
Banned for more than seventy years by the Soviet government, this astonishing series of cinematic treasures – presented in five programs over six Thursday evenings – provides a revelatory glimpse of the extraordinary quality of filmmaking that existed in Tsarist Russia, right up until the eve of revolution. David Robinson of Britain’s Sight and Sound magazine described the viewing of these films as a moviegoing experience akin to “opening the tomb of Tutankhamen.” Each program has a running time of approximately 90 minutes and features live piano accompaniment by David Drazin.