Friday, 3 August 2012

Pudovkin's Deserter

The Deserter is a 1933 Soviet film directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin.

Jan Gabrial states that her and Lowry went to see the film in London in 1933. (Inside The Volcano Pg. 34)

The film chronicles the tale of a strike on Hamburg's docks that was inspired by leftists. Livanov, their leader, finds that his weak heart cannot stand the strain of the strike; he must return to Russia to rest. While he is gone, the strike situation becomes more serious. The German government uses violent measures to repress the strike. Livanov feels he cannot lie idly by while his comrades are in danger. He returns to Germany to join them.


Boris Livanov - Karl Renn
Vasili Kovrigin - Ludwig Zelle
Aleksandr Chistyakov - Fritz Muller
Tamara Makarova - Greta Zelle
Semyon Svashenko - Bruno
Dmitri Konsovsky - Strauss
Yudif Glizer - Marcella Zelle
M. Oleshchenko - Bertha
Sergey Martinson - Passer-by
Maksim Shtraukh
Sergei Gerasimov
Sergei Komarov - Worker
Vladimir Uralsky
Ivan Lavrov - Richter
Ivan Chuvelyev
A. Besperstny

In 1929, four years before making this film, V.I. Pudovkin and Sergei Eisenstein had collaborated on a Sound Manifesto that called for a radical use of asynchronous sound effects, which would be used in counterpoint to the screen image, rather than supporting it, as is normally the case. In DESERTER, Pudovkin put this theory into practice. Starring Boris Livanov as German dockworker Karl Renn, the film focuses upon a politically unconscious figure who learns the error of his ways. Renn becomes involved in picketing and demonstrating on the dock but walks out on his comrades one day, doubtful about the value of this kind of political activity. A kindly communist offers to send him to the Soviet Union as a member of a German delegation, and he eagerly accepts. When the delegation returns from the Soviet Union, Renn chooses to stay behind, finding a secure job as a specialist in a factory. Not long thereafter, he learns that the police have killed his closest friend, revolutionary Ludwig Zeile (Vasili Kovrigin), and he realizes that he must return to Germany and rejoin the fight. The soundtrack, which Pudovkin wrote at length about in FILM TECHNIQUE AND FILM ACTING, has an unusual density and complexity because of the technique of asynchronous montage; it could serve as an early example of musique concrete. Rotten Tomatoes

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