Mar 192009


Not bad for a student film. How many students get a cast of thousands, or at least hundreds?

We watched Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Katok i skripka” (Steamroller and violin) some time back. I hadn’t known until now that it wasn’t his first student film. This one is “Sevodnya uvolnyeniya nye budyet” (Today There Will Be No Leave) and was produced in 1959, a couple of years before Steamroller.

I downloaded it from Memocast, and then found out it has French subtitles. The English subtitles from a .srt file overlay on top of them, making it kind of messy to read. I had sometimes wondered what it would like to watch a film with subtitles in both languages; now I’ve had no choice but to find out.

I’m not sure whether there is any great meaning to this film (I’m about 1/3 of the way through) but it keeps my attention.

It’s interesting that everybody in the city has to leave it in a mass evacuation, while the title of the film says NO leave. (That’s a play on words that doesn’t work in Russian, as far as I can tell.)

BTW, I kind of hate to say it, but it seems to me that Tarkovsky did better work in the Soviet Union than he did after he left it so he could have greater artistic freedom. However, some of the better work he did in the Soviet Union was also censored there, so the moral isn’t simply that repression is good for artists.