‘Commissar’ Shown as Part of ‘Phantom Holocaust’ Film Series

“Commissar,” a film by Alexander Askoldov, will be shown Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, 758 North Pleasant St, as part of the series “The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe” curated by curated by Olga Gershenson, associate professor of Judaic and Near Eastern studies.

Considered 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 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.

This celebrated Soviet film will be of interest not only to the public but also to students and scholars of film, Holocaust, Jewish and Slavic studies.

The event is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow.