Alphaville Videoteca

Early Russian Cinema, Vol. 7: Yevgeni Bauer (1914-1915)

Rusia. Drama. 95 minutos
Título Original: Early Russian Cinema, Vol. 7: Yevgeni Bauer
Director: Yevgeni Bauer
Intérpretes: Yelena Smirnova, Nina Kosljaninowa, Michael Salarow, Arseniy Bibikov, Emma Bauer, Leonid Jost, Lidiya Tridenskaya
Formato: DVD  Calidad: DVD
Idioma: Silente   Subtítulos: Inglés (intertítulos)

Yevgeni Bauer fue el cineasta más importante del primer cine ruso y realizó cerca de ochenta películas mudas en los cinco años anteriores a la Revolución Rusa de 1917.

Early Russian Cinema Volume: Seven EVGENI BAUER

A CHILD OF THE BIG CITY (Ditia bol’shogo goroda). Alternative title: The Girl From the Street (Devushka s ulitsy). Director/Art Director: Evgeni Bauer. Photography: Boris Zavelev. Production Company: Khanzhonkov. Released March 5, 1914. Cast: Elena Smirnova (Monechka/Mary). Nina Kozlianinava (Mon’ka, the heroine, as a child). Mikhail Salarov (Viktor Kravtsov). Arsenii Bibikov (Kramskoi, his comrade). Leonid Iost (Kravisov’s lackey). Lidiia Tridenskaia (Masha, a laundress). Emma Bauer (A dancer).

THE 1002ND RUSE (Tysiacha vioraio khitrost’). Director/Screenplay: Evgeni Bauer. Based on the play 1001 khitrost’ (The Thousand and First Ruse) by Vladimir Azov. Production Company: Khanzhonkov. Released May 29, 1915.
Cast: Lina Bauer (The cunning wife). S. Rassatov (Her husband). Sergei Kvasnitskii (Her lover).

DAYDREAMS (Grezy). Alternative title: Deceived Dreams (Obmanutye mechty). Director: Evgeni Bauer. Screenplay: M. Bosov & Valentin Turkin. Based on the novel Bruges la Morte by Georges Rodenbach. Photography: Boris Zavelev. Production Company: Khanzhonkov. Released October 10, 1915. Cast: Aleksandr Vyrubov (Sergei
Nikolaevich Nedelin). N. Chernobaeva (His wife and Tina Viarskaia, an actress). Viktor Arens (Sol’skii, an artist).

These three contrasting films by Bauer reveal something of the distinctive eroticism of his work and indeed of early Russian cinema as a whole. The two longer films share the common feature of a male victim, in marked contrast to the female victim of most melodrama; while the comedy The 1002nd Ruse celebrates a knowing female sexuality that would almost certainly not be found in any contemporary American equivalent (although it has much in common with the contemporary sex comedies of Lubitsch and DeMille).
A Child of the Big City traces the heroine Mon’ka’s evolution from a poor innocent seamstress to a monster of depravity and egotism. Her “rise” is paralleled by the fall of her idealistic admirer, Viktor, who finally commits suicide in face of her callous disregard. Film historian Miriam Hansen has noted this unusual variation on the familiar melodrama schema of the male aggressor and female victim: “Bauer’s contemporary urban and upper-class settings display male ruin and inadequacy as an effect of the real or imagined revenge of a powerful woman.”
Daydreams is regarded by many as Bauer’s surviving masterpiece. Film historian and archivist Paolo Cherchi Usai describes it as “a masterful balance between subject technique and narrative development. The tension in the plot (reminding one of Hitchcock’s Vertigo) reaches its climax in the extraordinary tracking shot during which the camera quite literally follows the main character along a deserted street, stops when he stops, then tracks back slowly, while he retraces his route. Necrophilia, mysticism and abstraction are the main ingredients of a tale with an astonishing and eerie finale.’’
[Silent Witnesses, ed. Tsivian et al, London/Pordenone: 1989]

EVGENI BAUER (1865-1917)
Until recently, Bauer was little more than a name, albeit one cited approvingly in brief accounts of pre-Revolutionary Russian cinema. Now with some 26 films known of the 86 he directed in a career that spanned just five years he has been claimed as the major filmmaker of the pre-Soviet period and indeed a director of world stature.
Evgeni Frantsevich Bauer came from a musical and artistic family. He graduated from the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and worked in the theatre and as an “artistic photographer” before entering cinema as a designer on Drankov’s Tercentenary of the House of Romanov (1913). However, the rest of his career would be with Drankov’s rival Khanzhonkov and he was soon renowned (and highly paid) for his spaciously designed, leisurely-paced and subtly lit melodramas. His background in photography helped him improve the quality of film lighting making use of top and back lighting, for many of his most admired effects — and necessitating the use of the ornamental columns that became a trademark to hide the numerous lights.
He also scripted and photographed many of his films and helped create some of the most popular stars of the period including Vera Kholodnaia, Vera Karalli, and his wife Lina Bauer. Ironically it was a wish to add acting to his other talents that led indirectly to his death in mid-1917, when he contracted  neumonia after an accident while in the Crimea shooting For Luck.
Titles translated by Julian Graffy. Original music by Neil Brand. Produced by Erich Sargeant. Selection and notes by Ian Christie