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V.I. Pudovkin

Friday, August 17, 1979
9:00 p.m. Mother
Vsevolod I. Pudovkin (USSR,1926)

Mother is probably V.I. Pudovkin’s (Storm Over Asia) best illustration of his mastery of film technique, as well as a moving drama of revolution. Like Potemkin, Mother depicts an aspect of the abortive 1905 revolt; in Mother, however, the concentration is on individuals rather than on masses. Pudovkin’s purpose is to raise the commonplace to the level of a kind of epic poem, and it is this poetic quality, this quality of silent music, which makes the film so exciting as well as so moving to watch. His three protagonists, all members of the same family, personify in a very poignant way the forces in Russia in 1905. The father is a drunk, a reactionary and a strike-breaker. the mother is patient and long-suffering; the son, Pavel, symbolizes the new Communist youth.

• Directed by Vsevolod I. Pudovkin. Original title: “Mat.” Screenplay by Nathan Zarkhi, based on the novel by Maxim Gorky. Photographed by Anatoli Golovnya. With Vera Baranovskaya, Nikolai Batalov, A. Chistyakov. (1926, 73 mins, silent, English titles, Print from Audio Brandon)