Ditya bolshogo goroda
(Child of the Big City)
R: Jevgenij Bauer. K: Boris Zaveler. D: Manechka-Mary, Elena Smirnova, Viktor Kravtsovt, Mikhail Salarov, Arsenii Bibikov, Emma Bauer. P: Khanzhonov. RUS 1914
“Bauer’s dramas of social realism include Ditya Bolshogo Goroda (A Child of the Big City) (1914), Nemye Svideteli (Silent Witnesses) (1914), and Leon Drey (1915). Ditya Bolshogo Goroda‘s female protagonist is a young woman whose soul has been tainted by grinding poverty. Orphaned from birth and toiling in a sweatshop, she escapes when a wealthy young man falls in love with her and makes her his mistress. But once his money runs out, she leaves him, spurning his suggestion that they live a modest life together. In the end, she has climbed her way to the top. When her former lover shoots himself on the doorstep of her mansion, she steps over him on her way to a fashionable restaurant, the final shot being a close-up of his body.”
William M. Drew
“For many years, pre-Revolutionary Russian cinema was terra incognita. It was as though cinema in Russia had sprung fully formed and fizzing with socialist fervor from the heads of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov and their colleagues. Although the industry was a relatively late starter, the first all-Russian feature film, Sten’ka Razin, dates from 1908 and a rich crop of work emerged from the Tsarist years: over 2000 films, of which nearly 300 survive.
After the Revolution, however, these early movies were suppressed and forgotten (but carefully preserved by the state archive Gosfilmofond). Not until the dying days of the Soviet regime did they come to light again. And when they did, they revealed a previously unknown genius of the cinema – Evgeni Bauer. Bauer’s career as a filmmaker is all the more remarkable in that it lasted a mere four years – from 1913 until his death from pneumonia in June 1917 at the age of 52. In that time he directed over 80 films, of which more than a quarter is currently known to survive. From them it is evident that he possessed an instinctive grasp of the language and mechanics of cinema. Bauer had a sense of cinematic space, an insight into the creative use of light and an audacity in the handling of the camera that set him far ahead of more celebrated innovators of the period such as DW Griffith or Victor Sjöström.”