Nemje svideteli (Silent Witnesses)
R: Jevgenij Bauer. B: Aleksandr Voznesenskij. D: Aleksandr Chargonin, Aleksandr Kheruvimov, Dora Chitorina, Viktor Petipa, Elsa Krüger, Andrej Gromov, Pjotr Lopukhin
« It is impossible for us to see Silent Witnesses today without some degree of hindsight. For this “upstairs-downstairs” drama of life below stairs shows a world that, unwittingly, stood on the brink of extinction. Fascinating also to compare the figure of the porter with Emil Jannings’ famous doorman over a decade later in The Last Laugh. But the film has an undeniable edge to its portrayal of the upper classes and — is this hindsight? — a marked sympathy for its servant class. It also shows Bauer’s virtuoso visual style at its most ornate, using split-screen and subjective shots, as well as the very architecture of the house, to evoke the social structure that is its subject.
A contemporary review noted: ‘Running through the…
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