Thursday, 29 September 2011

Leonid Trauberg: Dead Souls - Мeртвые души (1960)

Director: Leonid Trauberg
Writers: Nikolai Gogol (poem), Leonid Trauberg
Stars: Nina Agapova, Vladimir Belokurov,Aleksei Gribov

Screen version of satricial novel of the same name by Nikolay Gogol.


Leonid Trauberg was one of the founders of the notorious Factory of Eccentric Actors in St. Petersburg in 1921. With G. Kozintsev they joined their careers for decades, working on and off as a collaborative duo. Their names are often mentioned in connection with Formalists, together they attempted to create the Russian equivalent of Futurism, Surrealism or Dada. Among their collaborative work the most famous became their last silent film "The New Babylon / Novyi Vavilon" (1929), written and directed by both of them, inspired by the writings of Emile Zola. Their other common works include titles: "Shinel" (1926), "Bratishka" (1927), "Odna" (1931), "Vozvrashcheniye Maksima" (1937), "Vyborgskaya Storona" (1939). Shortly after the government banned their last collaborative work, post-war drama "Plain People / Prostyye lyudi" (1946), they split up and went their separate ways. Trauberg for few more years continued with directing and made 3 more films (Soldiers Were Going / Shli soldaty, 1958; Dead Souls / Myortvye dushi, 1960; Wind of Freedom / Volnyy veter, 1961). "Wind of Freedom" was his last film, after which he took the position of director of the Higher Course in Direction and later wrote books about popular culture, operetta, and cinema.

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