Jevgenij Bauer-2

Sumerki zhenskoi dushi
(Twilight of a Woman’s Soul)
R: Jevgenij Bauer. B: V. Demert. K: Nikolai Kozlovsky. D: Nina Chernova, A. Ugrjumov, V. Demert, V. Brianski. P: Khanzhonkov. RUS 1913
Engl. subtitles

Twilight of a Woman’’s Soul (1913) is Bauer’s earliest extant film. It is also the only surviving Bauer film not shot by Boris Zavelev, the cameraman with whom Bauer collaborated from 1914 until the end of his career in 1917. Here Bauer’s cameraman is Nikolai Kozlovskii, who had worked alongside Drankov on the first all-Russian feature film, Sten’ka Razin (1908). The consistency of the visual style in the films Bauer made with different cameramen suggests that Bauer himself devised and controlled this aesthetic aspect of his films. (…)

Technically, Twilight of a Woman’’s Soul is a highly accomplished début. If the opening ball scenes do not exhibit the depth and scale of similar scenes in later Bauer films, they nevertheless show Bauer striving to use space innovatively. In this respect the scenes shot in Vera’s bedroom are particularly successful, and they also demonstrate Bauer’s skilful use of lighting, props and costumes to create mood and highlight aspects of character and theme. A flimsy gauze curtain, drawn right across the screen, divides the set in two and creates depth. It also, however, serves to symbolize Vera’s detachment from the outside world, the sphere of public activity. The space in front of the curtain is in complete darkness; in contrast, the well-lit background where Vera sits appears even brighter, and Vera is bathed in an unearthly light that lends her an aura of saintliness. Her ethereal nature is further suggested by the fragile curtain itself and by the diaphanous gown she is wearing. The whiteness of the curtain and of Vera’s dress also evokes associations of purity and innocence, as do the vases of flowers that decorate her bedroom.”
Rachel Morely: Notes on Evgeni Bauer

Tysiacha v toraia khitrost’
(The 1002nd Ruse)
R: Jevgenij Bauer. B: Vladimir Azov. D: Lina Bauer, S. Rassatov, Sergei Kvasnitskii. P: Khanzhonkov. RUS 1915

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