The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces
WAR AND REMEMBRANCE: THE FILMS OF ALEKSEI GUERMAN
New York, NY, February 28, 2011- The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced details today for War and Remembrance: The Films of Aleksei Guerman (March 14-20). Screening at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street), the film series (co-presented with Seagull Films, with the assistance of Lenfilm Studios and generous support provided by George Gund III) will celebrate the work of the great filmmaker whose films rarely play outside the borders of Russia with the first North American retrospective of his work.
Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Associate Director of Programming, Scott Foundas said, “It’s a pleasure to offer the first complete retrospective of Aleksei Guerman, who is indisputably one of the masters of contemporary world cinema, but whose films have been nearly impossible to see in the West. We are particularly excited to be able to present Guerman’s debut feature, THE SEVENTH COMPANION, and his masterpiece, TRIAL ON THE ROAD, in new 35mm prints made expressly for this series.”
Guerman was born in 1938 in Leningrad into something like Soviet cultural royalty, the son of author, playwright, reporter and screenwriter Yuri Guerman, a man who dined with Stalin and Gorky and whose writing would directly or indirectly inform many of his son’s films. The younger Guerman also studied both theater and film, the latter under the great Grigory Kozintsev (known for his masterful film versions of Hamlet and King Lear) and began as an apprentice in the then-prosperous Soviet studio system. But almost from the start, Guerman proved to be a troublesome cog in that well-oiled machine, clashing with co-director Grigori Aronov over authorship of THE SEVENTH COMPANION and running so afoul of the authorities on his next picture, the masterpiece TRIAL ON THE ROAD, that the film was suppressed for the next 15 years.
Guerman’s films–five features to date, all shot in stunning black-and-white and staged in complex, obsessively detailed tracking shots that rank with the best of Scorsese and De Palma–have long been championed by a small but enthusiastic cult of admirers, including the programmers of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, who selected MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN for the 1987 edition of New Directors/New Films and KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR! for the 1998 New York Film Festival.
Though Guerman–together with his wife and regular screenwriting partner Svetlana Karmalita– has continued to work in the decades since, his projects have been subject to variously long production delays, owing to everything from the collapse of funding to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet Guerman has, rather like one of his own wizened, war-weary protagonists, soldiered forth, creating one of the most profoundly human and richly cinematic bodies of work in modern movies. Guerman is currently completing work on his sixth feature, an adaptation of the brothers Arkady and Boris Sturgatsky’s sci-fi novel Hard to Be a God.
War and Remembrance: The Films of Alexsei Guerman at Film Society of Lincoln Center will be the first in an international series of screenings of this special cinematic presentation. Additional locations will include (in alphabetical order): Austin Film Society (TX), Austrian Film Museum, Bard College (NY), Bell Lightbox (Toronto, CANADA), Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago, IL), Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge, MA), The Jacob Burns Film Center (NY), International House (Philadelphia, PA), Melbourne Cinematheque (AUSTRALIA), The Screen (Santa Fe, NM), Tate Modern (UK), Wisconsin Cinematheque and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA).
Tickets are on sale both at the box office and on-line Thursday. Discounts are available for students, seniors and Film Society members. Read more about The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater (located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway).
PRESS SCREENING (AT THE WALTER READE THEATRE)
RSVP to John Wildman at email@example.com
THURSDAY, MARCH 1
10:00AM TRIAL ON THE ROAD (96min)
Films, Descriptions and Schedule
Martin Scorsese Presents
THE FALL OF OTRAR (Gibel Otrara) (1991) 176min
Director: Ardak Amirkulov
Guerman produced and co-wrote (with wife and regular collaborator Svetlana Karmalita) Ardak Amirkulov’s staggering historical epic about the intrigue and turmoil preceding Genghis Khan’s systematic destruction of the lost East Asian civilization of Otrar. The movie that spurred the extraordinary wave of great Kazakh films in the 90s, THE FALL OF OTRAR is at once hallucinatory, visually resplendent and ferociously energetic, packed with eye-catching (and gouging) detail and traversing an endless variety of parched, epic landscapes and ornate palaces. A Seagull Films Release.
Screens Friday, March 16 at 8:30PM and Tuesday, March 20 at 2:30PM.
KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR! (Khrustalyov, mashinu!) (1998) 150min
Director: Aleksei Guerman
Arguably Guerman’s most visually stunning, wildly provocative work, this fever-dream meditation on the crazed final days of Stalin's regime was a cause célèbre of the 1998 Cannes and New York film festivals. Based on a Joseph Brodsky story, the film takes off from the infamous “Doctor's Plot,” in which a group of predominately Jewish Moscow doctors were fingered as members of a conspiracy to assassinate Soviet leaders. Yuri Glinshi, Red Army general as well as famous brain surgeon, is sent to the Gulag after an anti-semitic purge, then freed in a final effort to save the “People's Little Father” from his date with destiny.
Screens Wednesday, March 14 at 8:15PM, Thursday, March 15 at 1:30PM and Saturday, March 17 at 9:00PM.
MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN (Moy drug Ivan Lapshin) (1984) 100min
Director: Aleksei Guerman
Set in 1935 in the fictional provincial town of Unchansk, Guerman’s first film to receive wide international exposure–and his only to include several color sequences–unfolds through the prism of time, as a present-day narrator recalls his youth in a crowded communal flat whose residents include the socially awkward police inspector of the title. Part adventure, part social commentary, and always shot through with Guerman’s signature ironic wit, MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN is a richly complex memory film about a “forgotton” era.
Screens Wednesday, March 14 at 4:00PM, Friday, March 16 at 6:15PM and Tuesday, March 20 6:15PM.
THE SEVENTH COMPANION (Sedmoy sputnik) (1967) 89min
Directors: Aleksei Guerman, Grigori Aronov
Co-directed with Grigori Aronov, THE SEVENTH COMPANION is rich 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 soldier begins a campaign to return to the battlefield.
Screens Wednesday, March 14 at 2:00PM, Thursday, March 15 at 6:30PM, Sunday, March 18 at 9:30PM and Monday, March 19 4:00PM.
TRIAL ON THE ROAD (Proverka na dorogakh) (1971) 96min
Director: Aleksei Guerman
A great anti-war film, Guerman’s first solo feature provoked such furor in the corridors of government power (for its allegedly anti-heroic depiction of the Soviet involvement in WWII) that it was banned for 15 years, finally earning a proper release in 1986. Inspired by a real case documented by Guerman’s father, TRIAL ON THE ROAD tells the story of Lazarev (the extraordinary Vladimir Zamanskiy), a Junior Sergeant in the Red Army who defected to the Nazis and, as the film begins, has switched sides yet again. His loyalties questioned by all except for a benevolent Commander (Rolan Bykov), Lazarev is forced to prove his patriotism via a series of increasingly perilous missions, climaxing in the nail-biting re-routing of a Nazi supply train that ranks among Guerman’s most dazzling set-pieces.
Screens Wednesday, March 14, Thursday, March 15, Friday, March 16. Sunday, March 18 and Monday, March 19.
TWENTY DAYS WITHOUT WAR (Dvadtsaty dney bez voyny) (1976) 101min
Director: Aleksei Guerman
Based on the semi-autobiographical writing of acclaimed war poet Konstantin Simonov, the film is set in the winter of 1942. The film’s title refers to the duration of a furlough taken by Soviet Army Major Lopatin (Yuri Nikulin, a celebrated comic actor and circus performer cast against type) to deliver the effects of a fallen comrade to the dead man’s wife in his own home town of Tashkent. While he is back on those familiar streets, Lopatin is briefly reunited with his own ex-wife (for whom he still harbors feelings) and begins a tentative courtship of a lonely seamstress working in the costume department on a feature film–a film based on Lopatin’s published wartime memoirs. The movie within the movie offers Guerman ample opportunity to comment on his own position within the Soviet film industry, as an aggrieved Lopatin advocates for greater realism only to be reminded, “We can’t have a film without a heroic act” (an echo of the same argument leveled against Trial on the Road).
Screens Thursday, March 15, Friday, March 16 and Monday, March 19
Public Screening Schedule
The Film Society of Lincoln Center – Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65 Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam (upper level)
Wednesday, March 14
2:00PM THE SEVENTH COMPANION (89min)
4:00PM MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN (100min)
6:15PM TRIAL ON THE ROAD (96min)
8:15PM KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR! (150min)
Thursday, March 15
1:30PM KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR! (150min)
4:30PM TWENTY DAYS WITHOUT WAR (101min)
6:30PM THE SEVENTH COMPANION (89min)
8:30PM TRIAL ON THE ROAD (96min)
Friday, March 16
1:45PM TWENTY DAYS WITHOUT WAR (101min)
4:00PM TRIAL ON THE ROAD (96min)
6:15PM MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN (100min)
8:30PM THE FALL OF OTRAR (176min)
Saturday, March 17
9:00PM KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR! (150min)
Sunday, March 18
7:30PM TRIAL ON THE ROAD (96min)
9:30PM THE SEVENTH COMPANION (89min)
Monday, March 19
2:00PM TRIAL ON THE ROAD (96min)
4:00PM THE SEVENTH COMPANION (89min)
6:00PM TWENTY DAYS WITHOUT WAR (101min)
Tuesday, March 20
2:30PM THE FALL OF OTRAR (176min)
6:15PM MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN (100min)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, 42BELOW, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com.
For Media specific inquiries, please contact:
John Wildman, (212) 875-5419
David Ninh, (212) 875-5423