Criticised for its artistry and ‘estestichnosti’ in the land of its birth, July Rain (Июльский Дождь, 1966, USSR) has since become a classic both in Russia and abroad, reflecting the mood of change in Moscow at the end of the thaw years. Symbolic of the era’s dreams and illusions, the plot concentrates on the existential crisis of 28-year-old Lena as she makes a U-Turn in life. After the showing of what is arguably his most famous, lyrical and ‘Antonionian’ film, cinema heavyweight, People’s Artist of the USSR, former Chairman of the Russian Union of Cinematographers Marlen Khutsiev recounts the inspiration for this, and other time-honoured examples of the Soviet Film tradition.
The film will be shown in Russian, with English subtitles.
Marlen Khutsiev (b. 1925) has been making films since he was 19. Now in his 88th year, the screenwriter, director and actor has more international awards and prizes to his name than can be mentioned in a short paragraph. He is extraordinary for having lived through almost the entire Soviet era and immortalised its most poignant, everyday aspects in film. Having achieved fame in the 1950s with cult classic Весна на Заречной улице (1956) Khutsiev went on to create films such as Два Федора (1958), Застава Ильича (1964), Был месяц май (1970), Послесловие (1983), Бесконечность (1991), and Невечерняя (2010).
Layla Alexander Garrett is an author, playwright and film expert. Born in Uzbekistan, Alexander-Garrett studied Russian language and literature, Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism, and graduated in Film Studies from Stockholm University. She worked as an interpreter for some of the great icons of film and theatre, most notably with Andrei Tarkovsky on his last film ‘The Sacrifice’ (1986, Sweden). She is the author of a prize-winning memoir, Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams, as well as a photo album, Andrei Tarkovsky: A Photographic Chronicle of Making the Sacrifice. A documentary film based on the book was named the best national project 2011 and received the highest award at the national competition Service To The Fatherland: Events and Names.