Ik wandel door Moskou
Georgi Danelia / SUHH, 1963 / 78 min.
A charming feel-good comedy that launched the careers of many Russian film talents. The film is still an audience favourite in Russia, partly thanks to its optimistic tone.
Volodya is a young writer on a visit to Moscow. Kolya, a cheerful construction worker (played by Nikita Mihalkov, the later director of films like Oblomov) takes him under his wing. The film follows them as they meet other young people. Occasionally there are light-hearted jibes at the authorities, but the tone remains breezy and optimistic.
The film shows Moscow as a sprawling modern city with busy streets, tourists and architectural feats, reflecting a young generation’s hope for a better future.
The script was written by Gennady Shpalikov, author and poet and co-writer of I Am Twenty, which is also screened at Eye. Vadim Yusov, Tarkovsky’s regular cameraman in the 1960s, was responsible for the cinematography, for which he won an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1964. The film’s titular song became an evergreen which many Muscovites are still able to sing.
Ya shagayu po Moskve
Russia, 2021: in the wake of Putin’s latest election victory, reforms seem further away than ever. How different things were in the late 1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union’s new leader following the death of Stalin, gave an impulse for change. This period, which came to be known as the ‘thaw’, gave rise to classics such as Ballad of a Soldier (1959, Grigorii Chukhrai) and The Cranes Are Flying (1957, Michail Kalatozov); a new generation of filmmakers (Tarkovsky, Shepitko) also stepped into the spotlight.