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SERYOZHA

USSR, 1960 (MIFF 1961, Programme 18)

Director: Georgy Danelia, Igor Talankin

Children have their own inner world, remote as it may seem to those of us who have forgotten the years of childhood. True enough, they walk along the same streets as we do, see the same trees and clouds, but they see them in their own way. Things that may seem extremely simple to their grandparents, loom as great mysteries to them.

Vera Panova's short story 'Seryozha' shows her remarkable insight into child psychology and her keen powers of observation. It is the story of a little boy, Seryozha, who lives in a small provincial town in the south of Russia. Soon there comes a significant change in his life: his mother marries a man whom the boy knows, but cannot at once accept as his father. The story tells how the big man and the little boy gradually become friends.

The young film directors, Georgy Daneha and Igor Talankin, have adapted the story for the screen with discretion and understanding. In black and white, the soft, light tones of the shots create an atmosphere of sunshine and joy. The performances of the child actors are excellent. Amongst the adults, Sergei Bondarchuk appears as Seryozha's stepfather, Korostelyov. This is his first role since last year's Festival success Destiny of a Man. Irina Skobtseva, known far her performance as Desdemona in Yutkevich's production of Othello plays the role of Seryozha's mother.

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