By Emma Widdis
This primary creation to Alexander Medvedkin's filmmaking occupation strains his strategy of constructing a different model of cinematic satire during the interval of the Soviet innovative test. utilizing unique archival fabric and Medvedkin's writings for his unfinished autobiography, Widdis explores the flicks The Miracle employee, New Moscow and the experimental "film train"--or kinopoezd--as good because the movie Happiness.
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Additional info for Alexander Medvedkin: The Filmmaker's Companion 2 (The KINOfiles Filmmaker's Companions)
Unlike that of the other film journals, which disseminated images across the Soviet space, the intended audience of these films was not national but local. ’11 In parallel, the focus of agitation was local; the film-train sought to intervene directly in the life of the communities it visited. Two days after their return from Dnepropetrovsk the team set off on their second expedition – heading south again, but this time to the Krivoi Rog mining region, to improve the unloading of mined coal. For this trip, Medvedkin produced a plan that aimed to expand the train’s remit into broader agitational work, creating ‘brigades’ among the workers in every mine, responsible for disseminating the Party message and improving production.
Families are crowded together, a young couple seek privacy in a cramped public space. A man sits in an open latrine cubicle while other members of the community walk past. Close-ups show feet struggling on rutted mud paths, emphasising the difficult material conditions of everyday life. In this film, the camera – intimate and even intrusive – intervened directly in everyday life. Never hidden or anonymous, it was clearly a self-conscious presence in the communities it visited. Its task was a serious one: to reveal the problems of Soviet reality, and to solve them.
14 For Medvedkin, the most important films produced by the train were the longer ‘film reports’, which would tackle a single, particularly urgent problem in a given community. In stark contrast to other genres, these reports could take between ten and fifteen days to produce. One such film, much praised by Medvedkin, was How’s Life, Comrade Miner? 15 This film, directed by Karmazinsky, shows how the camera became a close observer and judge of the daily rituals of the community in question, uncovering the roots of poor organisation in the mine.