You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Career of Arturo Ui: New Version

Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank's new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work's theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values should earn it some fest mileage.

Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values should earn it some fest mileage.

As in the play, story follows the rise of a nobody, Arturo Ui (played with precision by Aleksandr Filipenko), to absolute power by appealing to people’s basest instincts. Originally written as a thinly veiled critique of Hitler, “Arturo Ui,” in Blank’s handling, contains refs to Stalin’s mass executions and to the Nationalists and Communists who would retake control of Russia today.

Highly stylized production has actors performing in white, masklike makeup with such expressionist touches as blue lips. Most of the action is filmed in a warehouse, with a few rainy, nighttime exteriors adding to the chilly, claustrophobic mood.

Script is often joltingly contemporary, with references to local Mafia extortion and economic hardship. Some slogans –“There’s a need for a firm hand, a fist of steel,” and “Great sacrifices are needed”– come straight from recent Russian campaign speeches.

The addition of popular songs by Russo folk singer Yevgeni Rein will jar Brecht fans accustomed to Kurt Weill’s edgy score. But the lyrics are generally faithful to the spirit of the original.

The Career of Arturo Ui: New Version

(KARYERA ARTURO UI: NOVAYA VYERSIYA) (RUSSIAN)

Production: A Studio Evrazia production. (International sales: Roskomkino, Moscow.) Produced by Yuri Ginzberg. Directed by Boris Blank. Screenplay, Pavel Finn, based on the play by Bertolt Brecht.

Crew: Camera (color), Mikhail Arganovich; music, Yevgeni Rein; art direction, Vladimir Gudiln, Blank. Reviewed at Sochi Film Festival (competing), Russia, June 6, 1996. (Also in Prague Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Aleksandr Filipenko, Vyacheslav Nivenny, Aleksei Zharkov, Viktor Proskurin, Valentin Gart, Aleksandr Pashutin, Yelena Mayerova, Albert Filozov, Boris Khmelnitsky.

More Film

  • Mackie Messer Munich Film Festival

    Munich Film Festival Keeps Its Finger on Pulse of Zeitgeist

    Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values […]

  • Korea’s CJ to Finance, Distribute 25

    Korea’s CJ to Finance, Distribute 25 Turkish Films by 2019

    Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values […]

  • 'Spiral' Review: A Look at the

    Film Review: 'Spiral'

    Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values […]

  • Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin

    Film Review: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'

    Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values […]

  • Universal Launches Direct Distribution in Hong

    Universal Starts Direct Distribution in Hong Kong, Appoints Anita Cheung

    Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values […]

  • Kobe Bryant Barred From Film Academy

    Oscar Winner Kobe Bryant Barred Entry Into Film Academy

    Straddling the border between film and filmed theater, director Boris Blank’s new version of the Bertolt Brecht classic never lets the audience forget the work’s theatricality, but still manages to conjure up a moody, nocturnal atmosphere on celluloid. Pic is likely to appeal more to legit students than movie crowds, but sharply honed production values […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content