Limitless Cinema in Broken English

April 17, 2008

“AMNESIA IS A UNIVERSAL AFFLICTION; TO SOME EXTENT WE’RE ALL SECRET STALINISTS”

Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 7:45 pm

My sixteenth poll ended with 10 votes, including one vote from me for LA CHINOISE, THE FAREWELL: BERTOLT BRECHT’S LASTSUMMER, HAVANA: THE NEW ART OF MAKING RUINS, NOW LET US PRAISE AMERICAN LEFTISTS, and THE SWIMMER. Thank you very much for everyone who participated in it. Here is the result:

THESE FILMS MAY CONCERN LEFTISTS, COMMUNISTS, OR LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM. WHICH FILM DO YOU LIKE?

1.BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925, Sergei M. Eisenstein, Soviet Union)

It got 4 votes, or 40 %.

2.LA CHINOISE (1967, Jean-Luc Godard, France)
+THE FAREWELL: BERTOLT BRECHT’S LAST SUMMER (2001, Jan Schuette, Germany)

Each of them got 2 votes, or 20 %

4.CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION (1996, Peter Duncan, Australia)
+EARTH (1930, Alexander Dovzhenko, Soviet Union)
+THE GREAT WATER (2004, Ivo Trajkov, Macedonia)
+HAVANA: THE NEW ART OF MAKING RUINS (2006, Florian Borchmeyer, Cuba/Germany)
+THE MOONHUNTER (2001, Bhandit Rittakol, Thailand)
+NOW LET US PRAISE AMERICAN LEFTISTS (2000, Paul Chan, USA)
+THE SWIMMER (1981, Irakli Kvirikadze, Georgia)
+TO LIVE (1994, Zhang Yimou, China)

Each of them got 1 vote, or 10 %.

12.COLLECTIVE FLAT (1999, Viet Linh, Vietnam)
+LES FEUX DE LA CHANDELEUR (HEARTH’S FIRE) (1972, Serge Korber, France)
+I AM CUBA (1964, Mikhail Kalatozov, Cuba/Soviet Union)
+THE JOKE (1969, Jaromil Jires, Czechoslovakia)
+LARKS ON A STRING (1969, Jiri Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
+MAN OF MARBLE (1976, Andrzej Wajda, Poland)
+RED PSALM (1972, Miklos Jancso, Hungary)
+STORM OVER ASIA (1928, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Soviet Union)
+THE TRACE OF STONES (1966, Frank Beyer, East Germany)

Each of them got 0 vote.

–LA CHINOISE is a special film for me, because I gave it only A- after the first viewing ten years ago. I hardly understood anything in the film, but I liked it very much at that time because it is about a group of friends playing some games in the same house, which reminded me of my happy time when my friends and I usually gathered in a friend’s house to do some funny activities. However, several years after that, I saw THE MOONHUNTERS. Parts of THE MOONHUNTERS are about the conflict between Soviet communists and Chinese communists, which is something I hadn’t known before. Later, I saw LA CHINOISE again, and this time I seemed to understand the film more than in the first viewing, because parts of LA CHINOISE are also about the same kind of conflict. I enjoyed LA CHINOISE very very much this time. Somehow I think it is a little bit strange that THE MOONHUNTERS plays an important part in making me fall in love with LA CHINOISE.

—————————————

–My wish list of films about life under communism

A.Old Romanian films playing in New York now:
http://www.filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale/romanian08/program.html
http://www.villagevoice.com/film/0816,romanian-roots,411803,20.html

B. Documentaries about East Germany

1.LIBERATORS TAKE LIBERTIES (1992, Helke Sander)

2.RED STAR OVER GERMANY (2001, Jan Lorenzen, 135 min)

C.Soviet documentaries discussed in the book THE ZERO HOUR: GLASNOST AND SOVIET CINEMA IN TRANSITION by Andrew Horton and Michael Brashinsky

1.AFRICAN HUNT (1988, Igor Alimpiev)

2.AGAINST THE CURRENT (1988, Dmitri Delov)

3.AND THE PAST SEEMS BUT A DREAM (1987, Sergei Miroshnichenko)

4.AT THE BOTTOM OF LIFE: HOW MUCH IS LOVE? (1988, Yevgeny Katz)
This film is about prostitution.

5.THE BRICK FLAG (1988, Saulius Berzhinis, Lithuania)
This film is about an eighteen-year-old Lithuania recruit who was raped by his fellow soldiers in the train’s sleeping compartment.

6.CHERNOBYL: CHRONICLE OF DIFFICULT WEEKS (1986, Vladimir Shevchenko)

7.CHRONICLE OF A PARADE (1989, Dmitry Zhelkovsky)

8.COSMOGONY (1988, N. Mahmudov, Uzbekistan)

9.COUNTERCLAIM (1988, Arkady Ruderman, Yuri Haschevatsky)

10.DEMOBILIZED (1991, Alexy Khaniatin)

11.DIGNITY, OR THE MYSTERY OF A SMILE (1987, Sh. Marmudov)
This film is about prostitution.

12.DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH: SONATA FOR VIOLA (1987, Semen Aranovich, Alexander Sokurov)

13.EARLY ON SUNDAY (1987, Murat Mamedov)

14.THE EVENING SACRIFICE (1987, Alexander Sokurov)

15.FLOODING ZONE (1989, Boris Shun’kov)

16.FOURTH DREAM OF ANNA ANDREEVNA (1989, Nikolai Obuhovich)

17.HIGHER JUDGMENT (1987, Hertz Frank, Latvia)

18.HOMECOMING (Tatyana Chubakova, short film)

19.HOUR OF DEMOCRACY (1988, Romuald Pipars, Latvia)

20.HOW DO YOU DO (1988, Sergei Baranov)
This film is about prostitution.

21.IS IT EASY TO BE YOUNG? (1987, Juris Podnieks)

22.IS STALIN WITH US? (1989, Tofik Shakhverdiev)

23.I WAS ON SERVICE IN THE GUARD OF STALIN (1989, Semen Aranovich)

24.KOND (1987, A. Khachatrian, Armenia)

25.LIMITIA, OR THE FOURTH DREAM (1988, Yevgeny Golovnya)

26.MARSHAL BLUCHER: A PORTRAIT AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE EPOCH (1988, Vladimir Eisner)

27.MARSHAL ROKOSSOVSKY: LIFE AND TIMES (1988, Boris Golovnya)

28.MAXIM GORKY: THE LAST YEARS (1987, Semen Aranovich)

29.MODERN TIMES (1988, Georgi Negashev)

30.THE ONE WITH A SONG (1989, V. Tarik)

31.ORDINARY FASCISM (1966, Mikhail Romm)

32.OUR MOTHER IS A HERO (1989, Nikolai Obuhovich)

33.PAIN (Sergei Lukyanchikov, Belorussia)

34.POPERECHNAYA STREET (1988, Ivar Seletskis, Latvia)

35.REVOLUTION SQUARE (1989, Alexander Ivankin)
This film used the sequence from THE TRIAL OF MIRONOV (1919, Dziga Vertov0

36.RISK (1988, Dmitry Borshchevsky)

37.RISK GROUP (1988, Andrei Nikishin)
This film is about AIDS.

38.SOLOVKI REGIME (1988, Marina Goldovskaya)
Marina appeared in the documentary THE LAST BOLSHEVIK (Chris Marker). There is also a book about her called WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA: MY LIFE AS A RUSSIAN FILMMAKER .

39.A STORY OF MARSHAL KONEV (1988, Lev Danilov)

40.SUBWAY (1986, students of VGIK)

41.TAILOR (1988, Vladislav Mirzoian)

42.THE TEMPLE (1988, Vladimir Dyakonov)

43.THEATER IN THE TIMES OF PERESTROIKA AND GLASNOST(1988, Arkady Ruderman, Belorussia)

44.TOMORROW IS A HOLIDAY (1987, Sergei Bukovsky)

45.THE TRIAL (1987, Igor Belyayev)

46.THE UNKNOWN WAR (1978, Roman Karmen)

47.WEEKEND ON THE CASPIAN SEA (1989, Valery Grunin)

48.THE WOOD GOBLIN (1987, Boris Kustov)

49.ZONE (1987, Murat Mamedov, Ukraine)

Favorite quotes from the book THE ZERO HOUR:

1.Georgia Brown wrote in the Village Voice about IS STALIN WITH US?. She wrote that Shakverdiev’s point “is that amnesia is a universal affliction; to some extent we’re all secret Stalinists.”

2.One Soviet historian said, “A tyrant does not beget totalitarianism; totalitarianism begets a tyrant”

———————————–

–Talking about Soviet Union, I also want to mention an interesting painter Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935), who was the most important pioneer of geometric abstract art and lived in the Soviet Union.

Paintings by Kasimir Malevich:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Kazimir_Malevich

1.BLACK SQUARE (1913)

2.SOLDIER OF THE FIRST DIVISION (1914)

3.WHITE ON WHITE (1918 )

4.PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN (1930)

5.COMPLEX PRESENTIMENT: HALF FATIGUE IN A YELLOW SHIRT (1928-1932)

6.RED CAVALRY RIDING (1928-1932)

—————————————-

–Favorite quote from RED PSALM (from some songs the character sing continuously):

“Friends, sing together, the sad song and crowned work
Only the rich people have a fatherland
The valley and the field belong to them
We built their palate
Who dominate us so proudly
Who dominate us so proudly?
But, what are there for us in these campaigns?
Nothing is with us, not a piece
Only our tomb, all at the end,
When we leave this bagne
Take care with the hungry people!
All will become insurrectionists!
They will rise! They will kill!
Tomorrow, we will be free!

The wild anger of the tempest struck us
Every damnation of vicious hell upon us
The day for our final attack is nearing
Who knows what the future brings?
We look forward with proud hearts,
We carry the red flag of the workers, …

With too many lords, there’s no freedom
With too many rich, there’s even more poor
With too many pomp, men don’t work
With too much past, the present is poor
With so much ignorance, there are many tyrants
Where there are many pharisees, their humanism is rare.

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