USSR / 1963
75 min. / 35 mm / Original version with German subtitles
Arsenal 1zu den Ticketszu dem Kalender
It’s not just the blazing sun, dust and endless expanse of the barren steppe that await 17-year-old Kemel when he is sent by the Komsomol to the Kyrgyz wastelands. Full of idealism, he would like to help cultivate this inhospitable land. The members of the small brigade to which he is allocated mock his youthful eagerness. When Kemel refuses to submit to the established hierarchy, conflict ensues. This confrontation echoes the struggles of the directors working during the Khrushchev Thaw, who attempted rto enew Soviet cinema in the late 50s and early 60s. As a member of this group, Larissa Sheptiko, who died young, shot a hugely impressive debut film in the form of ZNOY, equal parts lyrical and realistic. This seldom screened “Eastern” with shades of Dovzhenko is at once sensitive and precise and regarded as one of the overlooked gems of film history.