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USSR, 1957 (MIFF 1959, Programme 15)

Director: L. Kulijanov, Y. Segal

For many years, in the name of social realism. a sterile view imposed itself upon Soviet cinema. Now, by contrast, certain directors have returned to the stylistic elements of the great silent Soviet cinema for inspiration. Aesthetically this means a re-integration of lyricism with realism. The Forty-First and The Crimes are Flying arc recent examples of this transition.

First of the new school to treat adultery. The House I Five In presents the traditional conflicts between love and duty - no longer automatically resolved on the side of duty. Set in one of Moscow's outlying districts, this honestly told saga traces the life of a family, from its arrival at a new housing estate in 1935 to the end of World War II; recording the change caused in time and by the disasters of war. Their story involves that of their neighbours— a geologist and his wife, and a comparatively well-to-do group with artistic pretensions. The various family relationships are handled simply and with care, The mother, for instance. when her only son goes to the Stalingrad front, is no resolutely heroic-symbolic figure, but a deeply disturbed individual. As well as its greater depths of psychological motivation, this film looks more discerningly at contemporary life. The details ring true, and the whole reflects the tragicomedies of urban existence.

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