The Fondazione Prada presents a boxed set of 10 recently restored films from the history of Soviet musicals, a form of cinema squeezed between Stalin’s personal enjoyment and the danger of serious censure. Produced between the 1930s and ’50s, these films were made by cineastes from the avant-garde popular cinema who were hardly or perhaps never known in the rest of the world, but strongly supported by an extraordinary group of directors who are working today, including the best known contemporary Russian cinematographer, Nikita Mikhalkov. The ten films reveal a number of artistic paths characterised by a continuous dialectics between the old and the new, the orthodox and the heretical, the artistic and the commercial.
Along with the impossible dream of harmonising Hollywood and Mosfil’m, from the early 1930s the “New” Soviet cinema often nourished the project defended by “non-conformist” cineastes enamoured of “pure”, “abstract” cinema, which for them often coincided with the genre of the musical. These non-conformists were directors, stars (above all two highly cultured actresses who accepted to be “popularised”: Lyubov’ Orlova and Marina Ladynina), scriptwriters, directors of photography, and set and costume designers who worked inside a very solid industrial system but operated at its outermost edges (and who were therefore accused of “formalism” and “cosmopolitanism”), or who, using satire, criticised contemporary society (in consequence several of their films ended up on the black list).
The boxed set includes: Grigorij Aleksandrov, Vesiolye rebiata (Jazz Comedy), 1934; Grigorij Aleksandrov, Cirk (The Circus), 1936; Ivan Pyr’ev, Bogataja nevesta (The Rich Bride), 1938; Grigorij Aleksandrov, Volga-Volga, 1938; Ivan Pyr’ev, Traktoristy (Tractor Drivers), 1939; Grigorij Aleksandrov, Svetlyj put’ (The Radiant Path), 1940; Ivan Pyr’ev, Svinarka i pastukh (The Pig Tender and the Shepherd), 1941; Ivan Pyr’ev, V shest’ chasov vechera posle vojny (At six O’Clock p.m. After the War), 1944; Grigorij Aleksandrov, Vesna (Spring), 1947; Ivan Pyr’ev, Kubanskie kazaki (Cossacks of the Kuban’), 1950

10 DVDs in a box with hideaway handle