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Soviet Union / Poland, 1966 (MIFF 1968, Programme 22)

Director: Sergei Yutkevich

Yutkevitch takes up his hero's life starting with his arrest and working in flashback to his first impressions of Poland and the signs of the clouds of World War One. There are no words except Lenin's own in the form of a 'stream of consciousness'. From the beginning he is presented as an observer, musing over the stupidities of those who put him in solitary confinement, and always searching for the connections between his present condition and what he conceives to be historically inevitable. As played, he emerges as a nervous, inquisitive, rather likeable little man. . . .

Avoiding turning his hero into a saint, the director has made not only a moving film, but a charming one. The film has a vivid feeling for settings and costumes, but Yutkevitch's greatest achievement is his evocation of the period, of the nostalgia for the pamphlet-writing, the dream-filled days before the revolution.

Best Direction, Cannes Festival.

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