Saturday, May 28, 2016

Moscow-based Thinker Mark Teeter on Russia-shown films (from Facebook)

Mark H. Teeter added 4 new photos.
22 hrs
La fin du jour/Конец дня/The End of the Day (France, 1939)(Kultura, 23:50)
--  Kudos to Kirill Razlogov for airing this v. good Julien Duvivier drama about the perils of memory and the price of nostalgia in the deteriorating social circumstances of between-the-wars France. As Soviet studios were busy producing faux-historical dramas of various stripes (see tonite’s “Lenin in 1918”) and National Socialist Germany was cranking up antisemitic propaganda ("Süss the Jew"), French cinema of the late ‘30s could still devote itself to a finely-honed psychological drama of aging actors in a retirement home who must find a way to co-exist – which sounds trivial next to the authoritarian regimes’ Great Big Ideological Movies, but don’t be fooled. You’ll learn more about human nature from these long-in-the-tooth Gallic troupers than you will from their Soviet and Nat’l Socialist competition, and by a long shot. The judges of America’s National Board of Review clearly thought so, naming “The End of the Day” its Best Foreign Film for 1939.
The Kult Kino rubric means viewers will get an earload of astute analysis in the opening monologue from Razlogov, who for 16 years now has been providing Russian viewers with an invaluable service: identifying, summarizing and explaining actors, directors and national film schools that a Soviet movie lover could only read about (if that) and the average interested new-millennium Muscovite might have trouble finding on DVD. Razlogov puts every film in best-foot-forward context – so you know something of Visconti’s camera angles, say, or the subtexts lurking in early Kurosawa before they can sneak past you.
So tune in tonite and gitcha-seff some solid erudition on Duvivier and French film of the ‘30s. Such "small" movies as this one can indeed be, what’s the word, magnifique.

p.s. Indeed, Razlogov is so erudite, knowledgeable and compelling in these show-openers – he’s a professor of “culturology,” after all – that you’ll think he’d make a great dinner guest. Well, I actually had lunch with him once…and could hardly get a word in edgewise for 45 minutes. So my advice is stick to cocktail parties with KR.
1 comment
John Brown Question: With all the media censorship in Putin's Russia, how come its "official" media show films of such quality? We'd never see such films on CBS, NBC, ABC (arguably our US "official" -- MSM -- media).
LikeReply16 hrsEdited
Mark H. Teeter 1. The Kultura channel here, which dates from 1997, is a great anomaly: it is "official" (state-owned) and yet its programming is both (a) consistently high-dome and (b) occasionally near-subversive (in choice of content, timing of airing it or both). Clearly the channel has to do a balancing act -- sth like that which Ekho Moskvy has to do, being owned by GazProm but airing strongly dissident voices daily -- but I don't know what the arrangement is (or even who might articulate it). In any case, Kultura has a no. of PBS-like qualities but also many Russia-specific features -- and it doesn't have to do fundraising drives, either! Life here would be considerably grimmer w/o it, but as to exactly how it does what it does, I'm afraid we'll have to wait for sbdy's dissertation 10 yrs down the road.

2. There *are* quality programs available on other Russ TV outlets, but they are less frequent than they used to be. Still, weird (and sometimes cool) stuff does occur: I was channel cruising not long ago and stumbled on an interview show on the Sovershenno sekretno channel w/ V. Voinovich -- who has been persona non grata on broadcast TV for some time now.

LikeReply31 mins
John Brown Mark - Wonderful explanation. Will cite with gratitude on my blog (knowing that exploiting your wisdom is ok with you from our previous cyberspace communications). Best, john
LikeReply8 mins

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