Chris Fujiwara

Soviet cinema is a vast world of its own, filled with marvelous things. Like any great national cinema, it has its own complex rhetoric, its own tensions and shadow zones, and its own ways of communicating pleasure and distress. Behind every good Soviet film there is, no doubt, the history of a struggle, but the same can be said for any good film made in any country, under any circumstances. Russian directors risked harsher penalties for making a film that displeased Stalin than an American director might incur for irritating Harry Cohn or Darryl F. Zanuck, but the Soviet Union also respected film artists and made it possible - more often than is generally realized - for directors to do startling, innovative, and personal work. This program spotlights three of the most brilliant of these directors: Boris Barnet, Mikhail Romm, and Aleksei German. Each of the three is a fascinating and neglected figure whose work deserves exploration.