Revue

The daily life of ordinary Soviet citizens during the 1950s and ‘60s is explored in fascinating fashion in “Revue."

The daily life of ordinary Soviet citizens during the 1950s and ‘60s — from collective farming to Young Pioneer parades — is explored in fascinating fashion in “Revue,” another montage film made up entirely of archive clips spliced together from old Soviet newsreels. Like helmer Sergei Loznitsa’s earlier “Blockade,” which used a similar method to depict the siege of Leningrad during WWII, “Revue” is a commentary-free zone, allowing material to speak simply for itself. Having already kicked up its heels at a few fests, pic should finish its dance with bookings on upscale channels.

Excerpts shown include footage of factory workers toiling, farmers harvesting, and the like. Although there’s some charming snippets of musical revues featuring ace Cossack dancing, and a puppet show intended to demonstrate the evils of Western rock music (but which just proves the opposite), as pic unspools tone grows gradually darker. Brainwashed Young Pioneers (the Soviet equivalent of Boy and Girl Scouts) pledge allegiance to Mother Russia, while thesps performing patriotic plays extol the virtues of hard work, not whining about hard work, and snitching on those disloyal to the nation. Use of sound is particularly skillful.

Revue

Germany-Russia-Finland-Ukraine

Production: A St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio (Russia)/ma.ja.de. filmproduction, MDR (Germany)/Inspiration Films (Ukraine)/YLE Teema (Finland) production, with the support of Mitteldeutsche Medienfoederung, Hubert Bals Fund IFF Rotterdam, Filmfoerderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Russian Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography. (International sales: Deckert Distribution, Leipzig, Germany.) Produced by Vyacheslav Telnov, Heino Deckert. Directed, edited by Sergei Loznitsa.

Crew: Camera (B&W, 16mm, 35mm). Reviewed on DVD, Hoveton, U.K., June 20, 2008. (In Sochi Open Film Festival -- Summer Euphoria. Also in Rotterdam, Sydney film festivals.) Russian dialogue. Running time: 83 MIN.

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