eVolo 5 (Architecture Xenoculture):247-49 (2013)
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Chris Marker’s portrait of Alexandre Medvedkine in the 1993 film Le tombeau d’Alexandre/The Last Bolshevik is highly instructive of his own relationship to Soviet cinema. Most especially, this difficult or troubled rapport with the antecedents to cinéma vérité in the West (and its protean formal properties, in terms of structure and often satirical-critical commentary) comes forth in the figures he assembles to comment upon Medvedkine’s life work. When Medvedkine’s Scast’e (Le Bonheur/Happiness) (1934) leaked to the West (c.1967), sent like an “SOS” in multiple bottles to various film archives (one by one from deep within the Soviet film world), Marker and SLON received a copy by way of Jacques Ledoux (curator of the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, in Belgium). The film opened the floodgates of a retrospective survey of Soviet filmmaking repressed and forgotten other than by remote and distant figures (partisans) who somehow survived the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.
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