*Otsdaeqvsi komisari (Twenty-Six Commissars)*. 1932. USSR. Directed by Nikoloz Shengelaia. Courtesy of Gosfilmofond of Russia

Program 113 min.

Work at Oil Derricks and Oil Extraction. 1907. Azerbaijan. Directed by Vasil Amashukeli. 5 min.

A documentary on oil production in Baku, then the “black gold” capital of the world.

Puteshestvie Akakiia Tsereteli v Racha-Lechkhumi. 1912. Georgia. Directed by Vasil Amashukeli. Silent, with Russian and Georgian intertitles, and simultaneous English translation. 33 min.

Amashukeli, a director and cinematographer who worked in Azerbaijan and Georgia, is considered the founder of cinema not only in Georgia but in the whole Caucasus. The earliest surviving Georgian documentary featurette from the silent era depicts legendary poet Akaki Tsereteli’s journey to mountainous areas of western Georgia and his interactions with the people living there.

(Otsdaeqvsi komisari) Dvadtsat’ shest’ komissarov. 1932. USSR. Directed by Nikoloz Shengelaia. Silent, with Russian, Georgian, and English intertitles and piano accompaniment. 76 min.

With K. Gasanov, Baba-Zade, Heiri Emirzade. Set against a backdrop of oil derricks and sand dunes, this impressive silent-era feature about the geopolitical struggle for the control of oil fields is still relevant today. “Shengelaia went to the film factory of Azerbaijan, Azerkino, to direct Twenty-Six Commissars...about the 1918 defeat of pro-Soviet forces in Baku, an event that had opened the doors for British and Turkish occupants.... The picture’s stylish pathos and ritualism preceded the monumentalism of the late 1930s–1940s and secured it a place in the annals of Soviet cinema” (Peter Rollberg, Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema).

  1. Sunday, November 30, 2014,
    2:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2
  2. Tuesday, November 25, 2014,
    4:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2