Senin, 30 Mei 2011
Mikhail Romm - Pyshka AKA Boule de suif [Silent Version] (1934)
Andrei Pavlov from Archangelsk, quote:
My comment concerns the restored version (with additional narrator's voice behind the screen and instrumental music). What can I say about this black-and-white feature? It shows human nature in all its unstable depth. Who is the heroic character in this trivial saga? According to the film it is Pyshka quite definitely. I believe it is simply impossible to take the side of any other character. I've never read the original book but I suppose the film is a very well made screening. The evil deeds of the characters surrounding Pyshka are underlined by the way they eat (devouring chicken, eggs, cucumbers, etc.), the way they cast their glances (narrow eyes, mischievous grimaces, scornful impressions), the way they generally behave (hysteria when they cannot reach their goal - i.e. cannot leave the damned hut; absolute selfishness during their long talks and gestures - they don't care about Pyshka and even about each other while everyone has his/her own fish to fry; cruelty at its usual humane worst - when they are saved, they spit onto their saviour; emptiness and lack of soul - aimless drinking and playing cards)...
What is the meaning of all this? Well, our world can be this small wagon. Everybody is fighting for oneself and humiliating a weaker person. It also reminds me of Maksim Gorkiy "Starukha Izergil" (hope, I don't mix up things here): there was a story about a young man who ripped out his own heart in order to lead people out of the woods and when he died while rescuing men and women, the people just walked away merrily while one of them even stepped upon the heart of the dead young man.
A very sombre and even tragic film it is. It should be black and white only. The music, though quite light, contributes to the whole dirty atmosphere. The close-ups of the faces are professionally done and are truly repulsive.
The film squeezes maximum sense and style out of the concept.