SUNDAY FILM: RETHINKING THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR (3): 'THE DEMI-PARADISE'

Throughout May, Pushkin House screens a series of classic war films from or about Russia on Sunday afternoons, running in parallel with our Spring exhibition, ‘James Hill: Russian Veterans’, to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.  As elsewhere in Europe, the genre changed in its tone and approach through the decades that followed.

THE DEMI-PARADISE

 

 1943 dir. by Anthony Asquith, 112 mins. In English.

“I find myself wondering why The Propaganda Ministry felt it necessary to make such a bizarre film…”

A fish-out-of-water wartime comedy, starring Laurence Olivier as Ivan Kouznetsoff, a Soviet inventor who travels to England to have his revolutionary propeller manufactured, and Penelope Dudley-Ward as the woman who falls in love with him.

Ivan comes to England in 1939. At first bewildered – repelled, even - by the smugness, strange sense of humour, obsession with tradition and other complexities of the English people with whom he comes into contact, he returns to Russia without his invention seeing the light of day.  During the war he returns, to find a changed (and in his opinion, bettered) country.

The film was made to encourage sympathy between Britain and the Soviet Union. Our only Sunday screening made actually during the war, it give a unique take on the attitudes between the USSR and Britain during the war.

RETHINKING THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR, SUNDAY SERIES

10th May: The Dawns Here are Quiet (1972)

17th May: The Fall of Berlin (1950)

24th May: The Demi-Paradise (1943)

31st May: The Ascent (1977)