Boris Barnet Retrospective

The Cinémathèque française in Paris is hosting an extensive retrospective of Boris Barnet, one of the notable figures of Soviet cinema. The retrospective takes place from 14 February to 10 March. A former boxer, Barnet was one of the most remarkable filmmakers to emerge from Lev Kuleshov’s workshop. Barnet’s career in filmmaking began with an actor’s role in the famous satire Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov [The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks] (1924), where a conflict with Kuleshov led him to part ways with the group.

Barnet sets himself apart from other Soviet directors of his generation, primarily from his mentor Lev Kuleshov, through his attention to detail and his ability to defamiliarise the mundane. Unlike the prevailing ‘Americanism’ theory, which favored streamlined forms and simple geometry, Barnet found cinematic potential in the quaint streets of old Moscow, with its cobbled paths, wooden houses, and weathered fences.

Bernard Eisenschitz will introduce the opening film U samogo sinego morya [By the Bluest of Seas] (1936) on 14 February. Eisenschitz’ book Boris Vassilievitch Barnet, published by Les éditions de l’oeil, accompanies the Boris Barnet retrospective. You can read one of his texts for the retrospective, in French, here. The full program can be found on the website of La cinémathèque.

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