Russian Cinema at the Everyman

By Julian Petley

Over the coming months, The Russian Cinema Club continues its screenings of contemporary Russian films at the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead. On Sunday 19 October at 2pm there will be screenings of animation masterpieces by Yuri Norshtein, The Heron and The Crane, The Hedgehog in the Fog, Tale of Tales, The Fox and The Hare and The Overcoat.

In 1984 The Los Angeles Animation Festival asked an international panel of animation experts to name their top twenty animated films of all times. In top place, above all the Disney features and Warners classics, they chose Norshtein’s Tale of Tales. In Russia, where animation is treated as an art, Yuri Norshtein is a cult figure. The artist will meet the audience after the screening.

On Sunday 9 November at 2pm there will be a screening of Yuri Ilyenko’s Swan Lake: The Zone (1990, Ukraine, col., 96 mins.) Conceived by the great director Sergei Parajanov, while he was in Soviet prison, Swan Lake: The Zone is the mesmerising story of a convict unable to escape from a prison camp. When he tries to commit suicide, a guard saves his life by giving his own blood. This leads to a dramatic relationship between convict and jailer and to the convict’s rejection by the other prisoners. A heartbreaking love story adds a romantic dimension to the film, which is shot with beautiful, if bleak, cinematography. Ilyenko will meet with the audience after the screening.

The Russian Cinema Club plans to show the following films in December, January and February: Grigory Chukhrai’s Thief, winner of a prize at the 1997 Venice Festival; Kira Muratova’s Three Stories, shown in competition at the 1997 Berlin Festival and, by the director of Lenfilm, Sergeev’s highly controversial thriller Schizophrenia.

For further information about the Russian Cinema Club call the Everyman Theatre on 0171 435 1525.