Thursday, 1 April 2010

Andrei Khrzhanovskii: A Room and a Half (Poltory komnaty, 2008)

Andrei Khrzhanovsky
Reviewed by David MacFadyen © 2009 in

Since the untimely death of poet Joseph Brodsky in 1996, interpretations of his work in Russia have tended towards two extremes; we might define this graceless immoderation as either “active” in temperament or woefully “passive.” In other words, the former inclination stubbornly positions the poet as some champion of countless subversive scribblers, all of whom labored away with tight-lipped earnestness under a dictatorial regime. The other tendency, displaying equal revisionist vigor, insists that Brodsky suffered for years in American exile, weeping quietly over well-thumbed photographs of Leningrad. This propensity towards things maudlin—the more evident of the two cliches in today’s Russian media —has always centered around one particular text from early in the poet’s career (1962), stating that he would one day return to die on Leningrad’s Vasil’evskii Island. Even now it takes little effort to find schmaltzy sung versions of the poem online.

1 comment:

Giuliano said...

An excellent film by Khrzhanovsky - I consider it one of the very best I've seen in the past decade. Last Sunday Khrzhanovsky gave a lecture about the actor Erast Garin at the Meyerkhold Museum- a brilliant tribute to one of the best Soviet actors of the twenteith century who some have justifiably called the 'Russian Chaplin'.