New 35mm print!
After a stint working as an assistant director at the Lenfilm studio, Guerman was assigned to his first long feature, co-directed by Grigori Aronov. And although Guerman, who clashed with Aronov during the shooting (“I felt like an old, unliked husband,” he said in a 1988 interview), would later distance himself from the film, The Seventh Companion nevertheless remains rivh with Guerman’s stunning use of black-and-white and profoundly humane view of ordinary men and women caught up in the absurdities of wartime. Based on the novella by Boris Lavrenev, the film unfolds during the “Red Terror” campaign that swept across Russia during the Civil War. Having been arrested with other former members of the Tsarist bourgeoisie, Maj. Gen. Adamov (Andrei Popov) is cleared of his alleged crimes and released back into society. But in the post-revolutionary world, Adamov’s apartment has been turned into a crowded commune and, with nowhere else to turn (“The fact that you are alive is a misunderstanding,” he is told), the soldier begins a campaign to return to the battlefield. A dress rehearsal of sorts for the subsequent Trial on the Road and Twenty Days Without War, The Seventh Companion stands as an essential part of the Guerman filmography. NOT ON DVD.