The Lost Movies Video

Aleksandr Askoldov: Commissar (1967)
Description: This film was shelved by the Soviet government and released only as part of Gorbachev’s glasnost twenty years after it was made. It chronicles the story of a female Red Army commissar during the Civil War. She gets pregnant and is billeted with a Jewish family until the baby comes. As the Reds retreat, she is faced with a choice: abandon her baby and retreat with the Reds, or stay with the child she loves and endanger herself, the baby and the Jewish family once the Whites arrive. In this scene the commissar, soon to give birth, is forced upon the home of a Jewish tinsmith, played by Rolan Bykov, whose resentful family will eventually nurture and shelter the Communist woman.

Tengiz Abuladze: Repentance (1986)
Description: The mayor of a small Georgian town in this allegorical film is disinterred and placed his son’s garden by a local woman. She does this again and again, insisting that he should never be laid to rest, for when he was alive he was responsible for a reign of terror that led to the disappearance of many of her friends. In this scene the heroine mounts her defense in court, featuring a flashback to the early years of Varlam’s rule, before he had her artist parents arrested and killed. It comes with the Russian voiceover used in most Soviet theaters. The film was held back from Soviet screens for two years, until the policy of glasnost opened the way to audiences at home and abroad.

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