Sunday, January 13, 2008

Мой друг Иван Лапшин (Aleksei German , 1984) aka My Friend Ivan Lasphin

My Friend Ivan Lasphin (Aleksei German , 1984)
Rating: 9.5

In the tradition of all the great soviet films, My Friend Ivan Lapshin boasts of remarkable cinematography; mostly long hand-held tracking shots, alternating between black and white and color (although to a lesser extent). I've always been drawn to the preoccupation Eastern European filmmakers have with nostalgia and how the camera movements reflect a sort of dreamlike recollection. This is one of the primary reason why I consider Tarkovsky to be one of my favorite directors. The narrative is an episodic recounting of the memories of a boy who lived with his father in a communal flat along with Ivan, a member of the secret police and 12 others. The film takes place after the murder of the Leningrad Soviet boss Kirov in 1934, just before the first Soviet purges. The character's optimism for the future is juxtaposed with hints of the betrayal and inhumane brutality that is to come. Despite the atrocities that occurred in the past, the narrator declares his love for these forgotten faces and moments that haunt his childhood memories. I find Russian cinema to be one of the most fascinating because it differs from other countries aesthetics in many ways and for various reasons. The history of the country and their politics, are one major factor in this, not to mention the work of the montage directors. There seems to be a preoccupation with nostalgia.

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