One of the most striking films of Khrushchev's Thaw, Commissar was banned in the Soviet Union for its expression of overt sympathy for the Jews who were persecuted during the Russian Civil War. The most controversial part of the film is a scene depicting the future Holocaust to come, as envisioned by a Russian commissar woman. Askoldov's brilliant cinematography, influenced by Soviet masters of the silent film, uses subjective camera to create arresting black-and-white images that made Commissar into one of the best known Soviet masterpieces. Introduced and discussed by Olga Gershenson, author of “The Phantom Holocaust.”
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
1967/1988, dir. Alexander Askoldov, 110 min
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
1990, dir. Leonid Horowitz, 92 min.
Ladies Tailor is set in Kiev, on the eve of the mass execution on September 29, 1941 in Babi Yar. An old Jewish tailor Isaac (famous Soviet actor Innokentii Smoktunovskii) joins his family in their soon-to-be-lost home, and the film chronicles the last twenty-four hours in their lives. The violence is never fully depicted on screen and the night is almost mundane: the family members pack, bake cookies for the road, argue and reminisce about the past. Yet, what appears to be a simple story emerges as an intense drama raising complex and terrifying questions about the fate of the Jews under Nazi and Soviet tyranny. Introduced and discussed by Olga Gershenson, author of “The Phantom Holocaust.”