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MAYAKOVSKY LAUGHS

USSR, 1975 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Sergei Yutkevich, Anatoly Karanovich

Sergei Yutkevich has brought to the screen a play, 'The Bed Bug', by Soviet poet Mayakovsky. The film is introduced by Alexei Kapler, a contemporary of Mayakovsky, He acts as narrator throughout the film, which cuts between shooting in the film studio, discussions with the actors, and the animated sequences that make up most of the film. It is animated in a kind of collage of the styles of the twenties, using actors, puppets, graphics and documentary material. The 'Bed Bug' is a satire about an ambitious young worker who is trying to better his fortune after the Revolution, by marrying a wealthy middle-class girl. The film takes up this theme, and takes it to a conclusion in the future, when the hero wakes up in a new classless society where he and a bedbug are considered as equally curious social disturbances. But in a new, invented sequence, the hero is projected into the present-day world. He experiences capitalist life, drugs, riots and hippies, in a long animated sequence, that recalls Fritz the Cat or The Yellow Submarine.

'... for much of the time Yutkevich's sophisticated sense of parody, with some weird and wonderful pseudo-Constructivist designs, lively songs and a playful juggling of cinematic devices, gives it a rich surface.'

Sight and Sound

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