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Defence Councel Sedov

USSR, 1988 (MIFF 1990, Fiction)

Director: Yevgeny Tsymbal

Late one evening in Moscow in 1937, Defence Councel Sedov hears a knock at the door. Three women whose agronomist husbands have been sentenced to death for alleged sabotage beg him to take on the seemingly hopeless task of saving them. Sedov embarks upon a succession of encounters with increasingly powerful officials, gradually persuading them to look at the case anew. But the highest authorities are not so easily outmanoeuvered, and Sedov becomes canonised as a Stalinist zealot, with the film building inexorably to its chilling triple climax.

Defence Councel Sedov, from a story by Ilyia Zverev, brings to the Soviet cinema a devastating new directness to history. Shot in black and white, it seamlessly incorporates archival footage of the period, (never seen before), including a speech made by Mikoyan for the 'glorious' 20th anniversary of the security organs.

1988: British Cinema Academy Prize (BAFTA) - Best Short Film
1989: Special Jury Prize - IFF in Kemper (France)

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