Once again, early Russian filmmakers turn to Pushkin for source material. Here, Vasily Goncharov attempts to interpret the an epic poem of two poor orphans who love the same woman and turn to a life on the run after murdering her father. This movie remains technically unimpressive, especially when we recall that one year later Evgeni Bauer would give us “Twilight of a Woman’s Soul.” Goncharov never seems to have gotten past the limitations of stationary camera and pantomime, which is probably why his career with Khanzhonkov didn’t last long after Bauer and Ladislas Starevich came on the scene. Still, this one does have the benefit of being shot outdoors, in the Russian countryside, and having that rustic, almost-Western look I mentioned in “Drama in a Gypsy Camp.” It’s certainly a much more complex storyline, with a lot of action and love scenes thrown in as the brothers find romance and adventure in their wayward existences, one of them finally dying while escaping from prison. The camera remains at a discreet distance from the action, however, and the production remains a set of scenic vignettes, with little cleverness to the editing technique, except for an occasional cutaway to allow us to see from a character’s point of view.
Director: Vasily Goncharov
Camera: Louis Forestier
Run Time: 20 Min
You can watch it for free: here.