Lyudi 1941 goda (People of 1941). 2001. Russia. Directed by Marlen Khutsiev. Screenplay by Igor Khutsiev, Marlen Khutsiev. In Russian; English subtitles. 53 min.
The specter of World War II casts its long shadow across all of Khutsiev’s films. In People of 1941, he addresses the war head-on through extraordinary historical footage of the Battle of Moscow in 1941–42, images of Soviet citizens and soldiers steeling themselves for Nazi invasion, the tense stillness on empty streets shattered by sudden bombardment. Khutsiev incorporates folk songs and patriotic music, as well as images of baby-faced Russian schoolchildren in 2001, some 60 years after their grandfathers, at a similar age, mobilized on land and at sea. Khutsiev, who was too young to fight in the war but whose own father was murdered in a 1937 Stalinist purge, offers this film in commemoration.
Nevechernyaya (Not Yet Evening [excerpts]). Begun 2003. Russia. Directed by Marlen Khutsiev. Screenplay by Igor Khutsiev, Marlen Khutsiev. With Vladislav Vetrov, Mikhail Pakhomenko, Igor Bondarenko. In Russian; English subtitles. 20 min.
A sneak preview of excerpts from Khutsiev’s work-in-progress, the story of two fateful encounters between Tolstoy and Chekhov. “I knew that, in 1898, Chekhov became really ill and ended up in a hospital,” Khutsiev observes. “But what I didn’t know was [that] in the hospital Chekhov was visited by Tolstoy. From today’s perspective, I found it astonishing that such a renowned writer would visit a newcomer. I can’t imagine this would happen now, and I wanted to make a film about this incident as a reproach to the present day.”