MELODIA! Discovering Musicals from Russia and the Caucasus
Kino Klassika Foundation, in collaboration with the BFI (British Film Institute) and Institut Français of the United Kingdom, presents a season of screenings of Soviet and Russian musicals in London and nationwide. This season continues Kino Klassika’s longstanding undertaking to showcase classics of the Soviet, Russian and Caucasian musical traditions. Two special screenings of famous Soviet propaganda musical COSSACKS OF THE KUBAN (1949) will take place at the BFI Southbank in London on October 2019. The main programme will take place on January 2020 at the Ciné Lumière, London, Watershed Cinema, Bristol and other selected cinemas nationwide. The season includes some of the region’s most iconic and controversial titles and is part of the BFI’s major celebration of film musicals BFI MUSICALS: THE GREATEST SHOW ON SCREEN, at venues across the UK from October 2019 to January 2020.
Melodia! celebrates the diversity and complexity of Soviet, Russian and Caucasian musicals. It gives UK audiences the unique opportunity to explore this undiscovered musical heritage in the context of the main BFI’s major celebration of film musicals. Highlights of the season include COSSACKS OF THE KUBAN (1949) with numbers from famed composer Isaac Dunaevsky and mythologising Soviet prosperity and CHERYOMUSHKI (1963), based on Dmitri Shostakovich‘s operetta of the same name exploring housing shortages in Moscow in the 1950s. It also comprises beloved Soviet classics, such as Eldar Ryazanov’s CARNIVAL NIGHT (1956) alongside HIPSTERS (2008), an optimistic rethinking of Soviet counter-culture of the 1950s, and LETO (2018), directed by recently detained director Kirill Serebryannikov, exemplifying a controversial new nostalgia towards the Perestroika spirit of freedom.
Cossacks of the Kuban (1949)
Dir. Ivan Pyryev Accompanied by Isaac Dunaevsky’s brilliant music score, this artefact of glorification of the Soviet way of life was still heavily edited due to Stalinist censorship.
BFI Southbank (London)
14.10.2019 & 31.10.2019
From 4 January 2020 Ciné Lumière South Kensington and nationwide
We are from Jazz (1983)
Dir. Karen Shakhnazarov This film casts an eye back to the jazz’s beginnings in 1920s USSR. Released into the harsh economic reality of the 1980s, it is an example of the loosening of censorship in the late Soviet film.
Cine Lumiere (London) 07.01.2020
Dir. Herbert Rappaport This adaptation of Dmitri Shostakovich operetta both subtly criticises and celebrates Soviet life, once again raising the question of whether Shostakovich was a dissident or an ideologue.
Cine Lumiere (London) 08.01.2020
Carnival Night (1956)
Dir. Eldar Ryazanov A masterful parody of the Soviet top-down bureaucracy, Carnival Night satirises the newly appointed Director of the House of Culture Igor Ilyinsky who threatens the spontaneous festivity plans of his co-workers.
Cine Lumiere (London) 14.01.2020
Melodies of the Vera Quarter (1973)
Dir. Giorgi Shengelaia The film extols the Soviet virtues of socialism and hard work but the dances and music are distinctly Georgian. Released at a time of extreme corruption in Georgia, it is possible to see the political subtext of the film through its parody of unjust officials.
Cine Lumiere (London) 15.01.2020
Dir. Arman Manaryan Performed in Armenian and based on Tigran Chukhajyan’s operetta, this adaptation is a vivid example of the often overlooked diversity of Soviet cultural landscape.
Cine Lumiere (London) 21.01.2020
Dir. Alla Surikova This red western acts as an exploration into the nature of cinema. The film lovingly plays with devices of American cinema, whilst condemning the culture.
Cine Lumiere (London) 22.01.2020
Dir. Valery Todorovsky Todorovsky’s musical provides a contemporary view on the ‘Stilgyagi’ counter-culture (parallel to the Beat Generation). A melange of 1950s music with contemporary score, this eclectic film contextualises Russian musical tradition within its Soviet past.
Cine Lumiere (London) 28.01.2020
Dir. Kirill Serebryannikov Kirill Serebrennikov’s film is a foray into Leningrad’s 1980’s music scene. Depicting real cult figures from the time, and showcasing a nostalgia for the time’s epoch, it explores Western music’s impact on the underground scene.
Cine Lumiere (London) 31.01.2020
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