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A Simple Case 1933

As a response to criticism for the allegedly excessive “mass appeal” of his earlier epic STORM OVER ASIA (1928), Vsevolod Pudovkin unleashed his flair for experimentation in what was supposed to be the director’s first sound feature. Everything went wrong: technical problems forced him to complete the film as a silent; viewers were baffled by the lack of a recognizable plot; then, the ideological climate of the Soviet Union changed. He was now being blamed for catering to bourgeois taste! Time has come to set the record straight. Here’s lyrical cinema at its best, deliberately operatic and yet intimate as it matches the characters’ inner life with the solemn rhythms of nature, and depicted through breathtaking black-and-white photography. A sensation at last year’s Pordenone fest, Pudovkin’s long-forgotten swan song to the art of montage is resurrected by Gabriel Thibaudeau’s emotionally charged live music performance. –PCU (USSR, 1930, 75m)

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