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Tanka the Innkeeper

Screened at Locarno as an example of the moralizing films about children that appeared in the Soviet Union in the '20s, "Tanka the Innkeeper" is the edifying story of a little girl who turns her evil father in to the authorities, thereby earning the right to become a young Communist pioneer. It is shot in a simple narrative style that recalls an earlier period of American silent film, with artless outdoor photography, stylized acting, and heroes vs. villains.

With:
With: Tania Mukhina, K. Yastrebitsky, L. Nenasheva, A. Antonov, A. Timontayev, I. Ivanova-Tokmakova.

Screened at Locarno as an example of the moralizing films about children that appeared in the Soviet Union in the ’20s, “Tanka the Innkeeper” is the edifying story of a little girl who turns her evil father in to the authorities, thereby earning the right to become a young Communist pioneer. It is shot in a simple narrative style that recalls an earlier period of American silent film, with artless outdoor photography, stylized acting, and heroes vs. villains.

Pic’s rather unpleasant message is made palatable by a melancholy perf from the young heroine, who is given ample motivation for her betrayal — daddy not only tries to knock off a noble teacher, but almost kills her. Helmer Boris Svetozarov’s images of country folk living in rough log cabins have a Wild West feeling.

Tanka the Innkeeper

Soviet Union -- 1929 -- Silent

Production: A Sovkino production. Directed by Boris Svetozarov. Screenplay, K. Minaev, Svetozarov.

Crew: Camera (B&W), V. Popov; art director, V. Kovrigin. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Soviet retro), Aug. 4, 2000. Running time: 42 MIN.

With: With: Tania Mukhina, K. Yastrebitsky, L. Nenasheva, A. Antonov, A. Timontayev, I. Ivanova-Tokmakova.

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