A Typical ‘Cinema Woodcut’

Pikovaya dama (The Queen of Spades)
R: Pyotr Chardynin. B: Pyotr Chardynin, Alexander Pushkin. K: Louis Forestier. Ba: V. Fester. D: Pavel Biryukov, Aleksandra Goncharova, Antonina Pozharskaya. P: Khanzhonkov. RUS 1910

“Based on Pushkin‘s short story: When his friends play faro, German always enjoys watching, but he never gambles himself. One day, as he is watching their game, he learns that an elderly countess staying nearby is said to possess a secret for winning a fortune at the game. German is determined to learn this secret from her, and he initiates a romance with her grand-daughter Liza, in order to improve his chances.”
Snow Leopard

Chardynin’‘s 1910 film (A. Khanzhonkov and Co.) is a melodrama characteristic of a decadent and carefree Europe before the chaos of World War I and the Revolution. As a typical kinolubok or ‘cinema woodcut’, the film was shot according not to the story but to the opera. There were two reasons for this: first, as in other kinolubki, it was easier to set the number of required scenes by replicating the scene succession of the opera; and second, Tchaikovsky’‘s libretto adapted well to a twenty-minute kinolubok. (…) The film is shot in a badly constructed and painted set; the costumes are not true to the period and are primitively symbolic. Liza, Eletskii, and the Countess appear in the film in white, while Hermann wears black. As in similar films of the time, the characters are schematic, their emotions exaggerated, and their actions grotesque.”
Anatoly Vishevsky: “The Queen of Spades Revisited, and Revisited, and Revisited…”. In: Russian Studies in Literature, vol. 40, no. 2, Spring 2004, pp. 20-33.

>>>Domik v Kolomne by Pyotr Chardynin on this site: Pyotr Chardynin