<em>Lursmani Cheqmashi (The Nail in the Boot)</em>. 1931. USSR. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov

Master Georgian Filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov: Two Early Films

With piano accompaniment by Jon Spurney

Saturday, November 12, 2011, 1:30 p.m.

Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2

Includes the following films:

  • The Nail in the Boot

    1931. USSR. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. Screenplay by Leonid Perelman. With Alexsandre, Jaliashvili, Siko Palavandishvili, Akaki Khorava. To Save and Project presents two early, controversial films by Georgian master Kalatozov, both censored and virtually erased from the history of Soviet cinema until he achieved international fame with The Cranes Are Flying (1957) and I Am Cuba (1964). The Nail in the Boot is a major rediscovery, a work of agitprop produced for the “Samkehedrofilmi” (Military Film) studio that was banned by the Council of Soviet People’s Commissars for its oblique narrative, visual abstraction, and sympathetic portrayal of a soldier who inadvertently commits sabotage through his ineptitude on the battlefield. Violations of Socialist Realist dogma were a serious matter, and Kalatozov prevented from making another film for eight years. Restored by Gosfilmofund. In Russian with simultaneous English translation. 50 min.

  • Salt for Svanetia

    1930. USSR. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. The visually stunning documentary Salt for Svanetia is “an ethnographic treasure that documents the harsh conditions of life in the isolated mountain village of Ushkul. Often compared to Buñuel’s Land Without Bread, Salt begins as a starkly rendered homage to the resourcefulness and determination of the Svan. But as the focus shifts to the tribe’s barbaric religious customs (more haunting and otherworldly than any surrealist could have envisioned), Kalatozov’s film transforms itself into a work of remarkably powerful Communist propaganda, holding up these grotesque, near-pagan ceremonies (which many Svanetians later denied the authenticity of) as an example of religion’s corruptive influence” (Kino International). Preserved print courtesy David Shepard Collection, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. In Russian with simultaneous English translation. 55 min.