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Discovering Georgian Cinema

Discovering Georgian Cinema

Saturday, September 27, 2014
6:30 p.m. Twenty-Six Commissars
Nikoloz Shengelaia (USSR, 1932)

Imported Print!
In Person/Eldar Shengelaia
Live Music/Judith Rosenberg on piano

(Otsdaeqvsi komisari/Dvadtsat’ shest’ komissarov). Set against a backdrop of oil derricks and sand dunes, this impressive silent-era feature about the geopolitical struggle for the control of oil fields is still relevant today. “Shengelaia went to the film factory of Azerbaijan, Azerkino, to direct Twenty-Six Commissars . . . about the 1918 defeat of pro-Soviet forces in Baku, an event that had opened the doors for British and Turkish occupants. . . . The picture’s stylish pathos and ritualism preceded the monumentalism of the late 1930s–1940s and secured it a place in the annals of Soviet cinema” (Peter Rollberg, Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema).

• Written by Amiragov, Aleksandr Rzheshevsky, Shengelaia. Photographed by Yevgeni Shneider. With K. Gasanov, Baba-Zade, Heiri Emirzade, Alekper Melikov. (72 mins, Silent with English and French intertitles, B&W, 35mm, From Arsenal)

Preceded by: 
Work at Oil Derricks and Oil Extraction
(Vasil Amashukeli, Georgia, Russian Empire, 1907). Early imagery shot in Baku by the Georgian filmmaker and cinematographer Vasil Amashukeli. (5 mins, 35mm, From Gosfilmofond)

Total running time: 77 mins